The Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s chair announced Wednesday he is running for re-election after leading the party through the strenuous times of the
budget repair bill protests and Wisconsin’s first gubernatorial recall election.
DPW Chair Mike Tate said he is proud Democrats elected U.S. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and re-elected President Barack Obama, and said he is ready to build on these successes to gear up for the elections next year.
“I am running for re-election because I have enthusiastic
passion for this job and I think we have a lot of work that still needs to be
done,” Tate said. “We’ve got great opportunities in 2014, and I feel like I have
a lot more to give, so I’m going to run again for the third time.”
Additionally, he said DPW has doubled its membership and “substantially” increased the funding base to build unseen infrastructure
to make it stronger than it has ever been.
The increased participation among Democrats began in 2011 as
a reaction to Gov. Scott Walker’s “very bad” policies and has carried forward
since, according to Tate.
“We’ve seen the Republicans gerrymander this state and us
and put us in a tough position,” Tate said. “We’ve seen unprecedented amounts of
corporate-fueled moneys coming into Wisconsin to reward the Republicans for
the agenda they’re pushing, but that has not deterred us. We are
organizing earlier and harder than ever before.”
Tate added he has been campaigning in every corner of the
state and met with about 600 Democrats the past two weeks.
Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said he thinks Tate has led the party well by being articulate and expressing himself
appropriately at the right times.
“You don’t knock a guy down who’s doing a good job unless
you find someone running against him that’s better, and I haven’t heard of
anyone who’s running against him,” Risser said.
Despite Tate’s accomplishments, Risser said he is
disappointed Wisconsin voters could not recall Walker, but added he could
understand why the effort was unsuccessful. Risser said the Democrats had a
primary election between four contenders for the party’s gubernatorial nomination before the recall, which he said would put any Democratic
candidate at a “tremendous disadvantage” while the governor was raising
“unlimited” amounts of funds.
University of Wisconsin political science professor David
Canon said Tate’s leadership in Wisconsin has produced “mixed election
results.” He said Baldwin and Obama have won, and the party succeeded in recalling three Republican state senators. However, he said the GOP still controls state Legislature and Walker was not
But Canon said Walker’s recall victory was not due to failed
DPW efforts, however.
“It’s hard to sort out their impact versus the impact of various
grassroots organizations,” Canon said.
Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck said it was smart to demote former DPW spokesperson Graeme Zielinski last month because of his flamboyant attacks of the GOP.
“It was a great move to get rid of
Graeme Zielinski,” Heck said. “He was entertaining, but he was a little over the top.”
Democrats in Wisconsin are currently focused on finding a
formidable opponent to contest Walker in next year’s gubernatorial election,
according to Risser.
The election for the next Democratic Party chair will occur
at the DPW’s state convention June 7 to 8 in Oconomowoc, College
Democrats of Wisconsin spokesperson Austin Helmke said. Tate said all Party members and
registered delegates are eligible to vote.