Cullen Bolts on Wisconsin Dem Senate Caucus
State Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, said Tuesday he plans to leave the Democratic caucus and may become an independent.
Cullen made the comments in a press conference.
Democrats just gained control of the Senate 17–16 with Sen. John Lehman’s victory over Van Wanggaard in a recall.
It’s unclear immediately what the implications are of Cullen’s announcement.
Cullen, who was among the 14 Democratic senators who left the state during the historic protests at the Capitol in 2011 but had sought compromise with GOP governor Scott Walker on collective bargaining, said he was insulted by not being named chairman of any Senate committees after the Democrats regain control of that chamber.
You can read Cullen’s email announcing his decision here.
Implications are pretty moot at this point. With Brookfield Republican state Senator Rich Zipperer going off to join the Walker Administration at the start of next month, the Democrats maintain an utterly pointless 16 — 15 — 1 Majority which is likely to flip in November.
But what it does show is just how ideologically-minded the new Democratic Senate Majority is. For all the talk about “reaching across the aisle” after getting the majority last week, Miller shows in one swift action that he will punish those who do not bow to the party line he is keeping.
For better or worse, Cullen is to Democrats what Dale Schultz is to Republicans, the bridge-maker who annoys the party faithful, but is needed nonetheless.
Miller just threw his bridge-maker out. For all the screaming and name-calling at Schultz, no one in the GOP caucus has ever considered doing that.
What does that say about the new Democratic Majority? Volumes.