Will a Democratic gubernatorial primary make the eventual nominee stronger?

According to a report by Matthew DeFour of the Wisconsin State Journal, the answer is yes.

Vinehout’s odds of winning the nomination are considered slim, given an expected fundraising disadvantage against Madison School Board member Mary Burke, the only announced Democratic candidate so far. Whoever becomes the Democratic nominee would have to spend money early on but could benefit from the elevated profile.

“If I were Mary Burke, I would be delighted by having this race,” said Mordecai Lee, a UW-Milwaukee political science professor and former Democratic lawmaker. “For her organization it’s an opportunity to learn what works, what field operations are effective, what mailings are effective, which volunteers are effective. It’s almost like a dry run for November.”

What DeFour’s article got wrong is the fact that regardless of whether Sen. Vinehout jumps into the gubernatorial race, there will likely be a Democratic primary, as there are currently at least three Democratic candidates (Burke, Hari Trivedi, and Marcia Mercedes Perkins) who have already declared their candidacy.

However, I do think there is some validity to the argument that a Democratic gubernatorial primary will only serve to make the eventual Democratic nominee stronger and more organized leading up to the general election against Gov. Scott Walker. A primary gives the Democratic candidates an opportunity to fine-tune their ground games as well as their messages, and it will only serve to energize those voters who in many cases have been largely disengaged since Gov. Walker prevailed in the 2012 recall election.


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5 thoughts on “Will a Democratic gubernatorial primary make the eventual nominee stronger?

  1. Advocating for the devil a bit with this and the previous post, Zach? A worthwhile exercise to keep the conversation fresh, for sure.

    Vinehout’s chances of winning [a primary] are slim? Was that shown definitively somewhere, earlier, or is DeFour’s article, his repeated collection of speculative opinions about the obvious, from the usual pundits suspects, with no real new information supposed to the proof behind his statement?

    The only, “tell,” I see in the piece is that Tate has seemed to recognize his earlier mistakes in denial of the DPW having chosen Burke as their favored candidate. By that measure, Vinehout seems to have moved up a huge notch in the official standings among DPW and membership, with DPW now apparently hedging their initial bets on just Burke.

  2. I didn’t say Vinehout’s chances of winning a primary were slim; I simply quoted Matthew DeFour’s article.

    That being said, I think it’s safe to say Kathleen Vinehout is definitely the underdog in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, given the kind of organization Mary Burke is putting together.

    1. I was quoting the article by DeFour, also. Sorry for any confusion there.

      My recollection of the Marquette poll was that either Burke or Vinehout stood about the same chance of of beating Walker, right out of the gate. The Festivus pole was close to beating Walker.

      Maybe this sentence fits as well here as it might in the previous post but I will be actively supporting and then voting for the candidate and I’ll not be voting for the best professional campaign managers money can buy, to do a Baldwin and “embrace the suck,” as they are pushing either a corporate or party agenda under the name of their particular candidate who has consulted with them to create an electable image the want to sell me.

      I simply want someone who is more likely to represent me. Call me old fashioned (I do have the old part down). ;^)

      1. What’s your solution, nonquixote? If Mary Burke’s too much of a corporate or party candidate for your liking, then what’s your solution?

        Sen. Vinehout certainly has an impressive background, but an impressive background alone won’t win an election, especially not in the face of the kind of money Gov. Walker is going to spend to win reelection. I don’t like how absolutely vital money has become in our political system (particularly in campaigns), but the cold hard reality is that we’re not going to beat Scott Walker with a candidate whose staff is comprised primarily of unpaid volunteers and who can’t scratch together enough money to run statewide ads, etc.

        1. Morning Zach,

          I don’t have a gubernatorial race solution at the moment because Burke, to this point is the only major announced candidate.

          No one has the same cash as Walker will or does have. That’s a given. With a $.60 an hour raise to the minimum wage proposed yesterday from the Burke camp, my feelings about her being out of touch with the problems of the working poor in the state are even more pronounced and I’m even less impressed with those people, on that team.

          As to Vinehout’s organization’s current actual resources, you may have better sources for your information, but I don’t know anything about that subject for certain. It is the new year, I’m hoping to have some Vinehout buttons to hand out prior to Burke’s announced visit to our county.

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