Jeff Smith withdraws from DPW Chair race, throws support behind Martha Laning

Earlier tonight Jeff Smith, one of the five candidates vying to replace Mike Tate as Chair of the Democratic Party, released a statement withdrawing from the race and throwing his support behind fellow candidate Martha Laning.

Here’s Smith’s release.

Dear friends and supporters,

This campaign has been an extraordinary adventure. I recognize that together we’ve been able to propel the conversation in the direction it needs to go. I am confident that our party can heal and unify. Together, we can be the progressive agents we should be. If we rally around each other and embrace our strength through unity, we will win back our state.

In a recent letter, I stated how important it is that we unite. It is crucial that the leader of this party has majority support of all our delegates. We need to be able to restore trust and build confidence to make the Democratic Party of Wisconsin effective and return to the path of success.

My message has never wavered. It is a message of grassroots regional county party building and placing our faith in you, our members, over those of money changers.

Together with you, I will do all I can to fight for what is right for this great state and for our party. Therefore, I ask my supporters to join with me in casting their vote for Martha Laning for the next Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

I am excited for the potential that a new leadership style will bring to our party and to working with a team dedicated toward a true progressive Wisconsin.


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7 thoughts on “Jeff Smith withdraws from DPW Chair race, throws support behind Martha Laning

  1. This campaign has been more like the sequel to 127 Hours, and just after 2:00 PM on Saturday I’m going to cut my own arm off and go back to the northwoods of Wisconsin.

  2. Steve, we will be needed more than ever. As Jeff said. “..I ask my supporters to join with me…”

  3. There are a bunch of things I’ve noticed about this race for DPW but I can say I honestly told Jeff Smith he was 1 of 2 people I as seriously thinking of voting for chair. He dropped out and Martha Laning is not the 2nd.

    No disrespect to either of them but I will not be voting for her. If I get the time I’ll explain more but this is my response.

  4. Congratulations to Jeff Smith for stepping up and strengthening the move to unify and uplift the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

    Although I also support Martha Laning because of the unique gifts and experience she offers, I’ve never doubted Jeff’s intentions and determination. With Jeff behind Martha, I expect to see a huge gain in the party’s appeal and strength.

    But whoever wins, if all the interested candidates pull together we may eventually have the leadership team that will be able to get the things done that need doing in Wisconsin.

  5. Ok,

    Like everyone else I’m a bit busy today but I’ve been dropping by Blogging Blue for months and really like that I hear things here I don’t always see elsewhere-though some of you I think I recognize from JS comments.

    I said seriously considered voting for 2 candidates for chair.

    One was Jeff Smith. Easy reasons. 1. I want someone who understands rural Wisconsin and can do well there (there being a lot of places). 2. He was endorsed (or as close to it as he came) by Mike McCabe-if there is someone who has been aware of the problems of money it politics for a long time I listen when he says something.

    The other (striking to some) is Jason Rae for a different easy reason.: I’ve been going to Milwaukee County Dem meetings for years and I’ve seen him there. Plus recently in this campaign when I’ve spoken to him he responded. (Granted it is easier to when you’re running for chair rather than a different office-I’ve enjoyed that feeling when you call a candidate’s office and they don’t get back to you even when asked.) BTW I expect anyone from someplace with a candidate to be favorable to the candidate as a local guy. Plus there are some people I trust here in Milwaukee that don’t work for Nation and feel Rae has been attacked unfairly.

    For the Negative stuff on Rae & Laning.


    Nation-I’ve seen people say Nation but other than picking out troubling conservative group 1 person (not Rae) donated to not much more. Plus the non-Nation, non-Madison, non-Milwaukee candidate for AG (Susan Happ) lost just like Mary Burke (I can blame Burke on Tate but not Happ).

    Target-anti-union for Laning but people need a job. Don’t see Target as better than the other than Nation or worse for that reason.

    Tate-Rae has been at County Party Meetings-unlike Mike Tate (whom I can count on 1 hand the number of times he has been there). 2 different people, 2 different patterns of action.

    I did have a discussion with a Milwaukee area alternate for Laning. I haven’t seen him at 1 County Party meeting, not 1 in the years I’ve been going. (they are free to attend & posted on the website-just walk in the door if you want and if not .. really?)

    TPP-Rae opposes it but Laning gives a considerate lets wait to see what is in it position. Both have some merit.

    Basically don’t get worked up on most of the negatives.

    For dirty campaign:

    One thing I’m ware of is there was a debate scheduled here in Milwaukee last weekend-on Rae’s wedding day and moderated by someone quoted with a homophobic comment. Now unless the comment is fake that was a jerk move.

    The people who organized it complained about all the candidates (because non showed up). But they singled out Rae & Tate. One of the organizers was at the convention last night. She had a Laning sticker. I believe she ran as a pro-vouchers Democrat in a primary for Assembly and lost. Being pro-voucher doesn’t kick her out of the Democratic Party (Jeff Smith’s vice chair candidate is a real dem and similar in position.)

    But if there was negative stuff it was done by someone other than a Rae backer.

    I don’t blame Laning for it but I wanted to make the point that if someone feels there has been attacks on Laning she isn’t the only one.

    One thing that does matter to me is that Robert Hansen (someone in the Metro Milwaukee Area (not the city of Milwaukee but Milwaukee plus suburbs) supported Sen. Vinehout for years and he is supporting Jason Rae. I’ve seen Robert at County Meetings and know how progressive he is.

    That Sen. Vinehout supports Laning is the plus for her in my mind and why I’ll be willing to live with as chair-I remember reading through a comment a month or 2 ago on this site where someone said if it wasn’t for Sen. Vinehout’s support Laning would be laughed out of the room when running for chair (which means Vinehout’s opinion matters to other people too). But the her best open local advocate here supports Rae and I know him already.

    I’m off. If you want to pick at anything I said I’ll respond but likely after the convention (will be doing other stuff). But yeah here is one person who was actually & honestly favored Rae & Smith.

    If you really think there is something wrong with Rae, fine but be fair about looking at it and all the candidates. If you think they all come with different pluses then fine and I thank Zach for putting out each of their comments.

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