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Category “2010 Dem Governor Primary”

Nelson to Run for Lt. Governor(?)

Rumor reported by the Journal Sentinel is that Assembly Majority Leader Tom “Call me Thomas” Nelson (D-Kaukauna) is going to bolt on the Assembly and run for Lt. Governor instead.  Nelson’s entry not only would make him the fourth entrant in the Democratic primary for Lt. Governor; he’d also be the first entrant in that race who’s not from either the Madison or Milwaukee area.

Assembly Majority Leader Thomas Nelson (D-Kaukauna) is expected to get in the race for lieutenant governor — shaking up the race for that job and setting off a contest for the No. 2 position in the Assembly.

It also gives Republicans hope they can capture Nelson’s seat as they plot a course to win the majority in the Assembly.

Nelson did not return calls Friday and Monday, but his colleagues said Nelson started calling them a little over a week ago asking for their support in his run for lieutenant governor.

That means if Nelson runs and Democrats keep the majority after the November elections, they will have to elect a new majority leader.

Possible contenders include Assistant Majority Leader Donna Seidel (D-Wausau); Caucus Chairman Peter Barca (D-Kenosha); Rep. Pedro Colon (D-Milwaukee), who failed in his bid last year for majority leader; and Rep. Joe Parisi (D-Madison), who at the last moment dropped out of the earlier race for majority leader.

As majority leader, Nelson will be in charge of shepherding bills through floor debate as the Legislature spends two weeks wrapping up its regular session this month.

Republicans, who lost control of the 99-member Assembly in the 2008 elections, are hoping to gain four seats and take control of the house. They note that Nelson’s seat was held by a Republican, Becky Weber, before Nelson beat her in 2004.

Traditionally, the 5th Assembly District is a Republican-leaning district.  Nelson won that seat in 2004 in what was one of the dirtiest campaigns for an Assembly seat I ever saw via Northeast Wisconsin television.  He’s been able to hold it by working the district hard and drawing weak opponents in the two Democratic waves of 2006 and 2008.

Most with inside knowledge of the Democratic Caucus vote from earlier last year say Nelson got the Majority Leader’s spot by circumnavigating a fight between the caucus’s Milwaukee and Madison factions.  Word was that the Majority Leader’s position was always going to be Pedro Colon’s until all sorts of havoc broke loose.  What exactly happened is only known to the legislators in the AssDem Caucus (and of course, their staff).

The big speculation is why is Nelson doing this?  Admittedly, everything I’ve seen or heard about this guy is that he’s an ego-driven, ambitious, arrogant, power-hungry prick who’d sell his own grandmother down the river for power; so the idea that the Assembly (and being number 2 there) has bored him isn’t out of the question.  What better way to try to be Governor (or Congressman or Senator down the road) than be the state’s Lt. Governor for a term or two.

Another way to look at this is, as leadership, Nelson could be leaving his caucus high and dry in what could be a bloody Election Night come November.  What’s stranger is early money seemed to be on Waunakee businessman Henry Saunders seemed to be the choice of Democratic activists, power brokers, and party leadership.

Let’s not forget, on appearances alone, it gives one the impression the rat is leaving a sinking ship.

Or is he suddenly worried he too could be vulnerable this fall and is because of that, he’s bolting on the Assembly?

What then, is he hearing as he does doors in his district — something he’s not shy about mentioning on Twitter.

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No Falk for Lt. Governor

I’m only pointing this out because John Nichols of the Capitol Times of Madison pointed out this weekend on “Upfront with Mike Gousha” that after the Lawton exit, the state Democratic Party is split (What, but the MSM says the civil war is on the GOP side?) and members are still fuming about “behind-the-scenes antics.”  Nichols suggest a Falk candidacy for Lt. Governor, or a woman on the ticket would possibly re-unite the party.

Well, I hear Nancy Nusbaum’s free…

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk won’t run for lieutenant governor.

Falk’s name had surfaced as a possible candidate for governor or lieutenant governor as Democrats scrambled to keep control of the Capitol’s east wing. Gov. Jim Doyle is not seeking a third term.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced Sunday he is running for governor, and Falk supports his bid. Falk will not seek the nomination for lieutenant governor, said Falk adviser Melissa Mulliken

“I’m not surprised that people in the party have urged her to run, but she’s got a job that she loves and she’s not interested in running for lieutenant governor,” Mulliken said Tuesday.

Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton is not running for re-election and has dropped out of the governor’s race.

Sen. Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Ald. Tony Zielinski are seeking the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.

The Republicans running are state Rep. Brett Davis of Oregon, Superior Mayor Dave Ross and Lake Geneva businessman Ben Collins.

Just out of curiosity, but whatever happened to that rumored Tom Farley bid?

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Your National Coverage on the Barrett-Obama Meeting

From Politico…discuss.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett met with White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard Wednesday during President Barack Obama’s trip to Wisconsin, amid reports that the White House has been urging Barrett to run for governor in 2010.

Barrett and Gaspard spoke before Obama’s afternoon speech at a Madison middle school and the mayor’s office confirmed the two talked briefly.

Earlier, Barrett greeted Obama as he landed in Wisconsin Wednesday afternoon. The mayor told the Associated Press that he and the president did not discuss a potential gubernatorial campaign.

The White House offered no additional information about Barrett’s conversation with Gaspard.

During his address in Madison, which focused on education policy, Obama offered a prominent shout-out to Barrett, hailing him as “Milwaukee’s outstanding mayor” and prompting Barrett to stand up and wave to the crowd.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported that the White House hoped Barrett, a former congressman, would enter the race to succeed outgoing Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat who also joined Obama in Madison.

Last week, Democratic Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton announced she would not seek her party’s nomination in next year’s race, leaving a clear primary field for Barrett if he chooses to run.

A Democratic Governors Association official said Wednesday the group has spoken with Barrett and “several other potential candidates” about the 2010 election.

“Mayor Barrett would make a strong candidate and he’s been a great leader,” said DGA Communications Director Emily DeRose. “We’re confident that whoever is our nominee, we’ll keep Wisconsin blue and elect a governor who will look out for working families and create good jobs.”

Thank you DGA press flack.  You’re currently 0 for 2 this cycle.

If you look at the accompanying picture in the story (see link), it clearly shows Obama’s acting in the role of concerned friend with Barrett in what looks like a scene where the two are talking about Barrett’s injuries from the attack at State Fair.  Considering more what wasn’t said yesterday both at the event and the press, you have to start going with the assumption Barrett’s staying put and not running.

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Kevin Conroy Mulls Governor’s Run

What?!?  It’s not THAT Kevin Conroy

Well color me bummed by this news then.

After two high-profile Democrats have bowed out of the race for governor, a new potential candidate is starting to emerge

Kevin Conroy, CEO of Exact Sciences Corp. in Madison, is actively considering getting in the race, said Joel Brennan, Conroy’s brother-in-law and a former campaign manager for Tom Barrett’s runs for governor and Milwaukee mayor.

Conroy is preparing campaign filings, interviewing staff and developing fund-raising plans, Brennan said Wednesday. He said a final decision on getting in the race had not been made.

Brennan called Conroy a “progressive with a pro-business strategy.” He has been considering a run since shortly after Gov. Jim Doyle announced in August he would not seek a third term.

Must say, what is this now four or five Democrats in this state who are multi-millionaires?  Can we stop the Republicans are the party of the rich talk already?  Kohl, Kagen, Leinenkugel (rumored), and now this guy; no wonder I laugh whenever Zach W. at Blogging Blue goes off on Terrance Wall being a rich guy running for the Senate.  Apparently he keeps forgetting we have Herb Kohl in the Senate already representing this state.

That’s okay, a lot of us do as well.

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At This Point, He Would Be

Wiggy points out who the current Democratic Gubernatorial front runner is.

Godspeed kid.

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Obama to Madison Next Week

<sarcasm>Boy, this won’t play into the Governor’s race speculation at all.</sarcasm>

Bring out the tape recorder and set the DVR.  Things are gonna be fun for the next week or so.

President Obama will visit the Madison area on Nov. 4 to speak about education, the White House announced Tuesday.

It will be Obama’s first visit to the immediate area since a February 2008 campaign stop at the Kohl Center prior to the Democratic primary.

Presidential candidate Obama was scheduled to return in October 2008, but canceled a planned Madison rally to visit his ailing grandmother, who died a short time later, in Hawaii.

Details about the location or content of the president’s address in Madison next week are not available, a White House spokeswoman said.

Somewhere, Dan Bice is smiling.

(Wonder if any ambitious reporter in Madison Obama will bring up the @$$-kicking Democrats took in Virginia the previous night.)

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That Would Be “Very” Personal Reasons

WTAQ’s Jerry Bader on the real reason Barbara Lawton stepped aside today (And it is sudden, she was still getting endorsements this weekend from State Legislators), then the only word to say is…


UPDATE 10-27-09 — Bader has since taken back the story and issued the following statement.



As James Wigderson said it best, this would be one hell of slander suit.

I have also removed my later post on this matter.

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Daily Cardinal: Barrett Decision in Weeks

How is it that a college newspaper (and not even the best on the UW-Madison campus!) gets this sort of scoop, but the Wisconsin State Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Gannett Wisconsin papers can’t pick up the phone?

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will announce his decision on whether he will run for Governor in 2010 in the coming weeks, a campaign representative said Thursday.

Steve Chernof, Barrett’s finance chair, said Barrett is “weighing the decision.”

“I expect that we will have a decision within a couple of weeks,” he said.

As of right now, Barrett is keeping his focus on city issues, but he is still “taking the opportunity seriously,” Chernof said.

Officially, Barrett is currently pursuing a general mayoral campaign. Chernof said they “are certainly not geared up to run a mayoral campaign,” and did not rule out the possibility of the current campaign turning into a gubernatorial campaign.

Alright, good to know.  The last thing we need is some sort of wrench in the gears.

Uh oh…

This statement comes on the heels of Gov. Jim Doyle’s expression of “second thoughts” to Wispolitics.com about not running for re-election in 2010.

The Barrett campaign had no response to Doyle’s comments. However, Chernof said that while he did not want to speculate on how that would affect Barrett’s decision, Barrett’s initial consideration rested on Doyle not seeking re-election.

“The opportunity was presented because the Governor announced that he was not going to run,” Chernof said.

Me thinks that second part maybe Team Barrett’s subtle way of telling Doyle to “Back Off Baldie!”

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BizTimes Reports What Most Already Speculated

Congrats to Steve Jagler, he’s the first official member of the Milwaukee press to put to web page what most had already speculated as Summer turned to Fall and the leaves changed color without so much as an announcement: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s likely not running for Governor.

Democratic insiders believe Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will decide not to launch a campaign to be Wisconsin’s next governor, and some say Gov. Jim Doyle is “shopping” for another candidate to challenge Barbara Lawton for the party’s nomination.

Lawton, who is Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, picked up her most impressive endorsement yet Monday, when former Democratic Party of Wisconsin state chair and congressional candidate Matt Flynn announced he will support her bid for governor.

“The next governor of Wisconsin needs to be someone focused on creating new jobs. Barbara Lawton will be that governor. She is a strong leader who will fight for the economic security of our families and focus on keeping people on the job,” Flynn said.

Barrett has not yet declared publicly whether or not he will run for governor.

So what is the “Plan B” for Wisconsin Democrats if Jagler’s report is true?  (My own Democratic sources have been confirming this as well, multiple times.)

After all, we’ve seen more reports out of Barrett’s office about his medical recovery from his attack at State Fair than we have announcements whether he’s running for the Governor’s Mansion or not.

Finally, what does it say if Doyle — who’s been selling Barrett in every media market he’s in — can’t get his preferred candidate to run after weeks and months of puffing him up and singing his graces.

Is this the end of the Democratic Primary process if Barrett is in fact a no?  Hardly.  There will be shopping, both in Wisconsin and in Washington DC as the Obama Administration positions itself for 2012.  Despite his big win last fall, Wisconsin very likely remains in the “Swing State” category for a number of political strategists.

UPDATE: Well that brush-back was quick…

Dan Bice of the Journal Sentinel reports Barrett is “50/50” about throwing his hat in the ring for Governor.

Despite speculation to the contrary, Mayor Tom Barrett remains undecided on whether to enter the race for governor in 2010, sources close to the second-term Democrat said today.

They put him at 50-50 on getting into the race. That’s exactly where he was nearly a month ago, shortly after Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle announced he would not seek a third term.

Some prominent Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold and U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, are strongly urging Barrett to throw his hat in the ring, sources tell No Quarter. Other Democrats, including former Party Chairman Matt Flynn, have lined up with Lt. Gov. Barb Lawton, the top Democrat in the race.

But those closest to Barrett said the Milwaukee mayor won’t make a decision until later this month – at the earliest.

“Who Matt Flynn endorses in this race will have no impact on what decision Tom makes about running for governor,” said a source close to Barrett.

Until we hear something — hell anything — the speculation (and now with the Jagler piece, the belief he won’t run) continues.

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Another Endorsement for Lawton

Oh, it’s now really over on the Democratic primary folks.  The highly-coveted Nancy Nusbaum endorsement has been claimed by Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton.

(I’m typing that, and I can’t even keep a straight face.)

Former Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum endorsed Barbara Lawton for governor Wednesday.

“I’m proud to support Barbara Lawton as our next governor,” said Nusbaum. “She is a talented and effective leader that will bring a lot to the office of the governor.  Having lived in Green Bay for over 35 years, she understands this corner of the state and will work diligently to create jobs and turn our economy around.”

Lt. Gov. Lawton said she is honored by Nusbaum’s endorsement.

“We share our ambition for a prosperous future for Wisconsin and will continue our work together to grow the economy and create new jobs,” Lawton wrote in a statement Wednesday.

Nusbaum was elected the Brown County Executive in 1995. She was the first woman elected to serve as Brown County Executive and mayor of De Pere.

(Dear Lord, these two woman deserve each other…)

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