Democratic establishment-preferred candidate in 17th Senate district lags in fundraising

It looks like 17th State Senate district candidate Pat Bomhack, the hand-picked choice of State Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson and the Democratic establishment, is having some problems raising money.

In April, after being urged by Senate Democratic leadership to abandon his second bid for state Assembly, Pat Bomhack declared his candidacy for the 17th Senate District. Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson and other leading Democrats had decided to back Bomhack ostensibly out of concerns that Ernie Wittwer, then the only Democrat in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, was not able to do the work and raise the money necessary to triumph in the general election against state Rep. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green.

The most recent campaign finance reports strongly suggest that Larson’s calculation was flawed or perhaps that his controversial advocacy for Bomhack, who only recently moved to the district, may have backfired.

Bomhack raised just $9,045 in the first six months of 2014. Wittwer raised three times that amount, $30,636, from individual donors and groups and loaned his campaign another $25,000 of his own money. As of June 30, Wittwer’s campaign had $54,236 on hand, while Bomhack’s had only $23,070.

It certainly seems like Chris Larson’s public statements that Pat Bomhack is the better candidate in the Democratic primary in the 17th State Senate may have actually backfired against Bomhack, and perhaps it’s a sign that the grassroots activists in the 17th Senate district don’t take too kindly to the Democratic establishment trying to hand-pick candidates, as if the establishment know better than voters as to what constitutes a “better candidate.”


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4 thoughts on “Democratic establishment-preferred candidate in 17th Senate district lags in fundraising

  1. Chris Larson should resign his leadership position in the Wisconsin State Senate (although not from the state senate altogether) immediately if Ernie Wittwer wins the 17th Senate District primary.

    1. I completely disagree. Wittwer was running a pretty lackadaisical campaign until Bomhack got in the race and then suddenly Wittwer decided he actually wanted to win. Without Bomhack in the race and the Democratic convention snub, Wittwer is probably still running a lackadaisical campaign and everybody would be blaming Larson and Tate for not recruiting a better candidate.

  2. Chris Larson is a great guy, and I helped some on his campaign and marched with him in parades, verify that if you think that is just name dropping (though why I would drop the name of one of my opponent’s bosses other than to speak of facts, I leave to you). Partisan leadership of the Senate can be counterproductive to the purity of your cause and your representation of the interests of your constituents. He has in effect two jobs of potentially conflicting interest. What comes first. progressivism or the Democratic Party. The two are not equal; as his aide Jonathan Brostoff keeps reminding us in his defence of supporting only progressive democrats. If Chris was not the minority leader, perhaps he would be willing to work more closely with non Democratic Party progressives and independents. Perhaps he would have allowed a Democratic Primary for governor, or disavowed the Democratic Party’s work againsts Greens and Progressive Dane. Has party leadership strengthened his progressive bona fide or made him just another partisan member of the Democratic Party leadership? How many of you like the Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, and would work with him? Democratic Party Does Not Equal Progressive – In a state with open primaries does the letter next to the name really mean anything? Example Sheriff Clarke.

  3. In general I think Chris Larson has done a good job in his tenure in the State Senate. I do however have a problem of the Democratic establishment in general messing around in Democratic Primaries when then should be focusing on how to win general elections. I disagreed with Mike Tate about the same thing when he is out supporting Mary Burke for Governor.

    Democrats should be focusing on how to give voters a clear alternative to Republicans in every race in the nation.

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