Is it really Mike Tate’s fault Democrats aren’t running in all 99 Assembly races?

Over at Cognitive Dissidence, Jeff Simpson wants to blame Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate for the fact that Democrats did not field candidates in 26 of the 99 Assembly seats up for reelection later this year.

The problem with the 72 county strategy, is it either has yet to be enacted or they are having a hard time with the numbers.   Today was filing day and of the 99 Assembly districts in Wisconsin, the Democrats completely forgot about 26 of them!

On the flip side, the republicans have let 20 seats go unchallenged.  That means our districts have been gerrymandered to badly, and the two party system is so lazy and corrupt, that 46 Assembly districts will have no choice on the ballot.   That is roughly 2,641,648 Wisconsinites who were left without a choice.

The most extreme right wing government in a left of center politically state, and we could not find 26 people, pulled from local boards, etc… to throw their hat the in ring?

Anyone who’s paid attention here knows that I’m not necessarily a fan of Mike Tate, but I find it hard to lay blame on him for the fact that Democrats aren’t fielding candidates in 26 Assembly races. After all, while Mike Tate can encourage individuals to run for office, he certainly can’t force them onto the ballot.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate that 26 Assembly seat races will not have Democratic candidates, because I believe no elected official should win their office uncontested – but I don’t think blame should fall at the feet of Mike Tate.


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30 thoughts on “Is it really Mike Tate’s fault Democrats aren’t running in all 99 Assembly races?

  1. Mike is never to blame. He can’t pick up the phone and call potential candidates? Who is going to run when they know the DPW is not going to give them any help? Tate looks at the District and makes a decision based on the last election cycle. If the Democrat didn’t get over 45% of the vote, he won’t help out this time. As an Activist I believe we put up a fight in every district where someone is interested in running. No, you can’t blame Mike if those candidates run and loose but I believe you should blame him for not lifting a finger to find and support candidates-especially in red districts.

  2. From an anonymous commentator in Jeff’s post:

    “Peter Barca and his team are responsible for finding candidates for the Assembly, not Mike Tate. Likewise Chris Larson recruits for the Senate. The Party’s job is to provide a backbone for candidates up and down the ticket.”

    At a bare minimum, running a candidate in each district would seemingly provide a boost to overall voter turnout, bringing up off-potus year participation numbers.

    I’m sure some learned party statistician has the real scoop on this and maybe they’d be willing to set us straight.

    Thanks for bringing the topic back to the floor, Zach.

    (For the sake of remaining civil, I’ve withheld my comments regarding party “backbone.”)

      1. Morning Joe Kallas,

        I don’t know the entire answer to your question, sorry. You can go over to CogDis to view my response to the anonymous comment I quoted here. I feel the DPW chair, in cooperation with county and district party chairs/officers, should have found and encouraged a candidate to run in at least every state-wide office, minimally having the effect of encouraging turnout that would help the entire ticket. We had two candidates in our Assm Distrct, the county party bringing in their “preference,” three months after a very sound candidate and well known, who had already been in a D primary announced, but the county party denied having any involvement bringing their preferred candidate into the race.

        What I have called for previously is for the official DPW to vociferously break with all national party affiliations, witness DPW, and their complete capitulation to everything OFA at the expense of several D, US Congressional races in the state and the election of the GOTE, Bush on steroids Obomba. Getting off-topic so I will leave it at that here and now.

  3. OK…many posters here and elsewhere have lambasted Mike Tate up down and sideways for ‘recruiting’ gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. But the Dems don’t have a candidate in every assembly district and it’s his fault for not recruiting candidates?

    Make up your freakin’ minds.

    1. Ed, the DPW constitution forbids the party from endorsing a candidate until after the primary. He won’t let Brett Hulsey speak at the convention even though Hulsey filed more than 2000 signatures to get on the ballot. You are calling us wishy washy because we believe the rules should be followed. If you believe Tate should not encourage people to run for office, fine. I simply disagree with that strategy.

      1. No, Joe, that’s not what the Constitution says. The Party can endorse in a primary if there is good reason and the Administrative Committee votes to allow it, which is what happened.

        1. DontUsuallyComment, you are right that there is language that provides for an exception. However, no one has ever said what the “good reason” is or what the vote count was, and who voted which way. It’s all very secretive. Is the good reason the fact that Burke is a millionaire or is the good reason we don’t want anyone else butting in. I would not have voted to make an exception, would you?

    2. Explain why it can’t be both, Ed. It’s in the party’s best interest to have someone representing them in every corner of the state. Why Tate wouldn’t push for that strikes me as negligent.

      1. Who’s to say Tate didn’t push for that?

        Tate could have pushed and pushed and pushed, but if candidates are unwilling to run, then no amount of coercion is going to force the issue.

        1. Zach, Mike not only didn’t push, he didn’t even ask. Plus he refuses to help candidates who want to run. What is the purpose of the DPW if it isn’t to assist Democrats who decide to run for office. It used to be that way. Now if you live in a red district, you get no help. In fact, they would rather you didn’t run at all. Many people agree with that but I do not. Candidates in blue districts will win without any help from the party. A big part of the reason people no longer run in red districts is the lack of DPW support. I believe Mary Burke would have a much better chance of winning if there weren’t 33 Assembly districts with no Democratic challengers. Giving up on these districts is not a strategy for success in my opinion.

          1. So Joe….you know FOR SURE that Mike Tate and/or the ADCC didn’t attempt at all to recruit candidates for those seats that are unopposed?

            It sure seems like that’s what you’re asserting.

            1. I know for sure in the 41st he didn’t make any attempt to recruit a candidate. Just seems odd that if he was trying that there wouldn’t be 33 assembly districts where the Republican is running unopposed. We are loosing a third of the Assembly before the voting starts.
              Publicly Mike says that he expects to win back the Senate and Governor’s office but never mentions the Assembly. Says to me that he has given up on it. I don’t know what the ADCC does but they are not active around here.

  4. While I thought the Tate Burke touting should have gone to Vinehout. I don’t think Tate really had that much influence in Mary Burke’s decision, except to endorse. Tate simply hasn’t shown that much leadership. IMNSHO neither he nor anyone in state Democratic leadership has an inkling about how to promote anything.

    Statisticians, really, Non? Democrats, especially Progressive Democrats need a sustainable program utilizing the great educational institutions across this state to get people motivated about developing candidates, utilizing and supporting the values that had made Wisconsin such a model of public governing, until 2010, that is. Too long this has been left up to labor leaders, who have little academic credentials or marketing expertise that I’ve been able to discern.

    1. Your inability to detect mild sarcasm rears its ugly head again. Some party statistician, (there is one completely ruled by statistics and nothing else in this US Congressional District party leadership who I know personally) “straightening us out,” was a slight against the party, implying that some convoluted statistics might likely be presented to explain not successfully getting a D candidate in each district to run and how that was a, “better,” election strategy. Presented to its membership IF the party had any real interest in communicating with its base (i.e. listening as much as dictating).

      Kindly relate to us your real name if you are ever running for office. The Democrats don’t even have a labor caucus in our county, get all the marketing you want but it won’t help when there is NO message other than, “We’re Not Republican”, and oh, by all means, bring in even more rarefied academic think tanks to advise. LO-freakiing-L!!

  5. Part 2:
    Thank you AGAIN, blue fisting liberals. Forever June 5th will be the day you created. You created Scott Walker to be stronger than ever, which is making a stronger Wisconsin than ever. And if he wants to run for President someday, he is more popular than ever. Just think, President Walker. YOU built It.

    Thank you for signing your name on a public document that is searchable. For decades we will be able to look up public officials and hopefuls, teachers, neighbors, interviewees. We will have a clear picture of their ideals so that we, the people, can make an educated decision on their future. You built that too.

    Two years later the recall may be something you want everyone to forget. But we never will forget. We never will forget the embarrassment you brought upon yourselves and this great state, the childish temper tantrum you threw for over a year. The union backed recall stunt was a beat down, June 5th 2012 is a new independence day for Wisconsin and we couldn’t have done it without YOU.
    I am sure you are gearing up for another election this fall. Your unions, special interests and liberal media are feeding you talking points and your girl has already been hand-picked. The owners and adults of this state will once again rise up and beat you down again. This is what democracy, really looks like.

    1. Happy to see that at least one right-winger is so overjoyed that his taxpayer money was spent to, check, inspect and publish the database (which legally should have been paid for through Walker’s unlimited ability to receive funds for his criminal defense bankroll), the database of honest and educated individuals who had the balls to stand up and be counted for participating in our legal, democratic electoral process.

      Didn’t we already hear from this person about the money wasted on the recall? Hmmm.

      1. iverifytherecall was paid for with private funds and the database created with 17,000+ volunteers. Do you have a link or proof that would say otherwise?

        Yes, they signed a public document stating their beliefs and stance against the taxpayer. It is the gift that keeps on giving.

        1. My understanding is that the official count by the GAB and their publication of the official database was paid for by taxpayers instead of the people being recalled. Too bad the wingers wasted the precious little brain activity available to them, to merely duplicate the official record.

          Walker’s criminal defense fund was also paid for by “private,” funds. Doesn’t make him any better of a governor does it? You have fun bowing to the owners. I get my kicks in ways that don’t involve whips and chains. Hope they are paying you well enough for you to afford a jar of lubricant.

          1. The GAB never produced a database. It was the Walker campaign, under their rules, that was to do the research and prove any fraud which was impossible within the rules.

            The database was privately funded and created.

            The official count by the GAB was only to count the submissions. They never verified any names.

            The patriots that volunteered thousands of hours gave the gift that keeps on giving. The rest if your drivel is classic liberal changing of the subject.

            1. Nothing I said about the recall database was incorrect. Get your facts straight for once.


              It was Voss/Walker whining to a Republican Waukesha Judge who then ordered the GAB to create a searchable database which began costing taxpayer’s bigger money. Of course you’ll have to take the word of the a reporter at the “WI Reporter” on that story. Risky business doing that.


              Waukesha Judge statement link here:


              In the past, the accountability board has left it to those facing recalls to find problem signatures. But Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis recently sided with Walker’s campaign in a lawsuit and said the board must do more to find duplicate and fictitious names.

              Thanks so much for confirming that Walker’s campaign couldn’t play by the rules and had to go Judge shopping, but that FACT was already apparent to most of WI. So the taxpayers footed the bill, as I said, that was Walker’s responsibility if he disagreed with the GAB count, if he thought there were not enough signatures to trigger a recall election. Paying for that verification is the reason Walker was allowed to raise unlimited funds.

              You are wrong again when you state the GAB didn’t verify any names. They did so to the letter of the law using extra staff hired for the job, but only extra staff who had NOT signed the recall petition. You are claiming those non-signers are liars now, too?

              For the record, the verify database, paid for almost exclusively with out-of-state PAC money was widely considered not worth a shit. And guess what. I have a separate hourly rate sheet for pin-heads NOT on the recall signer’s database. Now ain’t that special and I ain’t even a liberal. So next time you make a claim here, better back it up or shut it up.

  6. A few comments from a past candidate (21st Assembly District, Oak Creek-South Milwaukee);
    I don’t know if any one person is to blame, but it’s a shame to have 20-plus districts, including the 21st, where the voters are denied a choice.
    CatKin is totally right about past over-dependence on labor in many parts of the state. The Democratic trend has been downward in the past 20-25 years in many areas that were once strongholds (Racine, West Allis, Kenosha, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, to name a few). As unions declined in strength, nobody else picked up the slack.
    It would be worth small investments to make sure there are candidates in the “unwinnable” districts, because those candidates have friends and relatives who will turn out to vote for them- and may stay to vote for statewide and congressional candidates too.
    I know from personal experience it’s hard to run, beyond the obvious difficulties of fundraising. Unless you own a business, or have a professional practice, running means going without an income for several months if you’re going to make anything more than just a token race.

  7. Let’s not forget the effect that gerrymandering has had in Wisconsin. Adding that factor to the big bucks from Citizen’s United, the Koch Klan, and other “Big” money, you have a political situation that dictates a prioritization of resources and effort.

    Okay, it’s not fair, but until there is a redistricting and/or SCOTUS revisits their decision, Democrats have to have a smarter strategy. Would it be advisable to have a “non-campaigning” candidate in every race? Would it help turnout in years when there is a gubernatorial race?

    1. Funny you left out the big union money which is far beyond anything from your evil “Kochs”.

      1. My omission of “big union money,” if it still exists, was deliberate. My argument focused on the deadly political effect of “Big” money in combination with gerrymandering as it exists in today’s Wisconsin scene.

        I am in favor of reform of “Big” money whatever the source, be it the “evil “‘Kochs'” and/or unions.

  8. I agree that its not entirely Mike Tate’s fault here, however that many uncontested seats is troubling. If I recall in 2006 when the activists were able to get Howard Dean in Charge of the DNC his goal was to get a Democrat on the ballot for every seat in the Country from Dog Catcher to President. He sent money from the DNC to the state parties for field directors whose goal was to recruit candidates, build party membership, and go door to door getting new Democrats.

  9. “…its not entirely Make Tate’s fault here…”

    Well, something is better than doing nothing in “…26 of 99 Assembly districts…”

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