Several prominent Dane County leaders announced their endorsement of Lieutenant Governor candidate Henry Sanders Jan. 13, including Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.
Cieslewicz said he decided to endorse Sanders because of his work with entrepreneurial groups and his leadership qualities.
“I think he’s got a good balance of progressive politics and he also understands the business community,” Cieslewicz said. “The economy is going to be the issue, and he has a proven track record of working to create jobs.”
There are currently seven candidates running for lieutenant governor: three Republicans and four Democrats. State Sen. Spencer Coggs, D-Milwaukee, is the most recent to announce his candidacy, saying he will also focus on job creation.
Meanwhile in the gubernatorial contest, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett continue to be the only frontrunners, with Republican candidate Mark Neumann polling in third. A November Public Policy Polling survey shows Barrett and Walker tied at 40 percent, with Barrett leading Neumann 41-39.
Although Barrett and Walker seem to have the lead, the survey does point out a majority of voters have no opinion one way or the other about any of the candidates.
University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry Burden said people should not put too much stock in the polls at this point because it is still early in the race.
“Both Walker and Barrett have fairly high name recognition and people have a general familiarity with them,” Burden said. “The number of undecided people in those polls are huge, but those are the people that decide elections. By the time we get to the primaries it will look totally different.”
Burden said right now, everything comes down to fundraising. He said the more money someone can raise the better signal it sends that they are serious as a candidate.
According to Burden, Walker has an advantage over Neumann because of the amount of money he has raised, as well as having better and more solidified staff. The Republican primary is in September, so Burden said people might start to see the Republican candidates targeting each other in advertisements soon.
Neumann said he is not worried about either of the other two frontrunners right now and is instead focused on visiting small business owners and employees around the state to hear their concerns.
“The whole anger we’re seeing in the population against government right now, I represent those same feelings that they have,” Neumann said.
According to Jill Bader, spokesperson for Scott Walker’s campaign, Walker is not worried about the upcoming Republican primaries, and he is very much focused on the general election.
Bader said Walker plans to keep on listening to voters over the next several months before he submits any policy proposals. The main issues his campaign is focusing on include job creation and the economy.
Phil Walzak, spokesperson for Tom Barrett’s campaign, also cited job creation and economic growth as the main issues of the campaign. “Tom Barrett is focused on showing his positive vision on getting the economy moving and attracting more jobs to the state,” Walzak said. “I think people are excited and energized by his campaign.”