Wisconsin Progressives Need To Make Up Their Mind

After Mary Burke announced her candidacy for governor in 2013, the pundits and progressives across the blogosphere and social media were heard weeping, whining and gnashing their teeth about the hand picked candidate of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Everyone wanted anyone but the anointed Ms. Burke.

Some of us suggested that those unhappy should recruit their own candidate. Dozens of names of other elected officials were bandied about in hopes they could be coaxed to run. Russ Feingold, Peter Barca, etc. Finally Brett Hulsey threw his hat and fake confederate uniform in the ring and a primary season circus was on.

And the progressives lamented that the party was preventing other candidates to enter the fray…and doing everything possible to clear the way for Ms. Burke. Maybe…maybe not. But my guess is most other elected officials didn’t want to get involved in the lost cause of unseating the incumbent, Governor Scott Walker. Probably a wise move…but I digress a bit.

Of course the loss to Governor Walker is wholly the fault of a forced candidate picked by the party.

And just over a week ago there was the meet and greet with a question and answer period for three of the four candidates for chair of the DPW. Zach posted a few comments about this event earlier.

During the event more than a few attendees complained that the party didn’t recruit enough qualified candidates across the state. That the 72 county strategy was a failure because the party didn’t recruit a democrat to oppose the GOP candidate every available race in 2014. Hmmmm.

So, first the candidate perceived to have been recruited by the party to run for governor was tainted because she was recruited by the party? But across the state the party didn’t recruit candidates? Recruit or not recruit?

Wisconsin progressives, you gotta make up your mind!


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21 thoughts on “Wisconsin Progressives Need To Make Up Their Mind

  1. Here’s an idea: Recruit a candidate that isn’t horrible. Mary Burke was a horrible candidate. She was unpolished, inarticulate and her most significant experience was working for a very unpopular ex-governor.

  2. The effort at this point has to be to alert the people in each legislative district the cuts and eliminations that Walker and his Republican legislators have placed in this budget and the losses that will occur to schools, local governments and senior citizens. We need to make each Republican legislator who is up for re-election in 2016 accountable to their local constituents for the harm that this budget will do. As 2016 approaches candidates must drive the point home that Wisconsin has not moved forward economically, educationally and environmentally since Republicans gained control and we have lost needed public services because of their abuse of power and following an agenda that was produced outside of Wisconsin[ ALEC ] and foisted upon our people!

    1. With you all the way on this, and seeing it happen only here and there.

      Walker’s budget is not decreasing this time around. Gubernatorial candidate against Walker, taken out by injury, (how quickly people forget) has the lowdown that everyone should be referring to their local shopper, letter to the editor, or Gannett family of papers across most of the northern half of the state.


      Costs county DPWs nothing to have a few activists do this, but several counties in my district don’t even have a link on their county party web-sites.

      If I can think of this, where the hell is DPW.

  3. Mary Burke said that she decided to run and no one recruited her. If she had such a burning desire to run for Governor and make Wisconsin a better place, why did she say after the election that she would never run again and disappear from site. She has made no comments about RTW or Walker’s budget proposals. Furthermore what good is a “bench” if those on the bench don’t want to run for Governor. To not run because they are up against Walker who they think they cannot defeat, is not acceptable. It they don’t run, who will? I still believe that Burke was the favorite because she put in $5 million of her own money. As far as recruiting candidates statewide, it is easy to understand why people didn’t come forward and run in red districts. The DPW didn’t support many of those who did run which is not a good way to persuade others to run.

    1. I don’t think Burke was as bad a gubernatorial candidate as some say. Did she have her flaws? Yes. I will give her credit on at least one point…she handled herself well in the two televised debates with Governor Walker. If she wasn’t “good enough” of a candidate, who would have been? Russ Feingold, of course, but he decided not to run. I don’t believe any other candidate would have done any better in 2014. The recall victory gave Walker a lot of momentum that made him fairly insurmountable in 2014.

      Regarding recruiting candidates statewide, DPW’s strategy has clearly been horrible. Whoever is the next party chair needs to have a new approach. I don’t believe hand picking candidates is the answer, but I don’t believe letting legislative seats go uncontested is an answer, either.

  4. Please do not nominate former Senator Feingold. We need to defeat Senator Johnson! He is an embarrassment to the state. Senator Feingold is, no doubt, a great person and was an excellent senator; but he’s a re-tread! He has already lost to Ron Johnson. I also wasn’t too thrilled to hear about his recent “announcement”. Something about teaching at Stanford (Is Stanford located in Wisconsin?) and visiting Wisconsin extensively. Isn’t there anyone else on the bench?

    1. Mark Harris, Winnebago County Exec and former Congressional candidate, would be a good person to run against Johnson. However, Russ has the nomination for the asking and soon he will be asking.

      1. I agree Mark Harris is a candidate with a future if the party would support him. Unfortunately most of the voters in Sheb. county didn’t know he was running until they saw his name on the ballot,and said to themselves Who?

    2. Do you have any realistic suggestions for someone who could unseat Johnson if it’s not going to be Feingold?

      1. I think a host of candidates will be able to beat Johnson in a presidential election year. Russ would win, but it might be better strategy for the long term to look for a fresh face that can hold the seat for the next 18-24 years.

        1. That’s not very specific though…just being “not Ron Johnson” isn’t enough. Being “not a Republican” isn’t enough either as we’ve seen here in recent election cycles.

    3. Feingold has an extensive legal background along with teaching experience, that grants him invites to positions many would wish for. Re-tread and lost to a tea-party surge and outside money and failed support from Democrats are not on their face, reasons to exclude him.

      Kindly get to the real point as to why you dislike Feingold against Rojo. You’ve commented at least twice with your individualized complaint against him. Not much there as to specifics. IOW, no valid reasons given yet.

  5. Personally, I don’t think that it should be the Democratic Party’s role to recruit candidates for public office, except when it’s close to the filing deadline and no Democrat has shown any interest in running for a particular office (this was not the case regarding Mary Burke, as she was recruited by the state party several months before the filing deadline and while two other individuals, neither of which decided to run for differing reasons, were considering running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination)

  6. “During the event more than a few attendees complained that the party didn’t recruit enough qualified candidates across the state. ” Ed, you have a good point. Recruit or not recruit.

    There’s a lot of talk about Mary Burke being recruited (or not). But she was endorsed by Mike Tate before other candidates had a chance to get a foot off the ground. On the other side of things, not enough candidates trained and ready to fill a role leaving seats UNCONTESTED in counties all over the state. And DINO’s, candidates not vetted, not following the constutional by-laws and no steps in place to rectify those situations.

    In addition, let’s not forget the DPW planted candidates in three districts that DID have candidates running. Bernie Wittwer’s, Kathleen Vinehout’s and Jeff Smith’s districts. Recruiting/planting candidates in districts that already have someone running? That is not only recruiting, it’s a plant. An insult to the self directed candidate willing to step up and run their own campaign. Ohter candidates, like former Senator Jessica King begged for some assitance from the DPW. Begged. Part way into her campaign, the DPW gave her a part time intern to assist. The DPW could have provided little more assistance and some money for mailers, signs or air time. Meanwhile, Gudex ads bombarded the airwaves, talk shows, tv ads and mailers coming in a flood. Jessica lost that race by 200 votes. That seat is now red.

    There seems to be a LOT of inconsistencies in how and where the DPW operates.

    Look at the DPW website. Can you find information about training or workshops? Red to Blue? Emerge? Not on there. So, yes, the DPW should be recruiting people to develop and train as candidates, field officers, etc.

    Hand pick candidates, no. Develop talent, yes. There is a distinction.

  7. I think we are being unfair to Mary Burke. Her previous election experience was limited to the local school board in a favorable district and we put her up as a David vs. Goliath, Conan the Barbarian( MJS-MBS and Pravda AM620 ),and the Terminator(the seat of govt. for Wi. is not in Madison but Wichita Kansas ) and we only gave her one or two rocks for the sling. Walker though very experienced in political debates did his usual verbal fumbling and set himself up for several kills that she was unprepared to take advantage of. “Where is the beef” type moments.
    The MBS and Pravda620 blasted a false article of her Trek experience with no time to refute. The latter probably changed what the pre-election and exit polls showed to have been a very close race into what the published s

  8. Could a similar thing be happening at the national level? It seems like Mrs. Clinton has a pretty cleared field, and while I’m in no way comparing her to Ms. Burke you still wonder if it wouldn’t be better if there was at least one other major/serious candidate such as Ms. Warren to insure an honest debate and to give voters a choice.

    1. While I support a Warren presidential run, I think she is almost too valuable to lose in the US Senate. Her voice is needed there.

      1. Maseman, you are assuming Warren wouldn’t be replaced in the Senate by another Progressive Democrat.
        I say, Run Warren Run.

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