In Case You Missed It: National Journal Story Highlights Democrats Running Scared

String of Democrats Decline to Run Against Wisconsin’s Comeback, Own Up to Their Records with Wisconsinites 

May 10, 2017

[Madison, WI]— Wisconsin Democrats are running scared.  A new report from National Journal out today highlighted how a string of Democrat candidates have dropped out from the race for governor, rather than run against Wisconsin’s comeback or own up to their records with Wisconsin voters in 2018. With Democrats in disarray, it’s clear that the remaining potential candidates are out of touch with Wisconsin’s hard-working families and cannot be trusted.

Read the full story from National Journal online here, or read excerpts from the story below.   

Scott Walker’s Intimidation Campaign
National Journal
Zach Cohen
May 10, 2017

“They’re certainly sizing up the field,” said Matt Batzel, a Wisconsin­ based Republican operative who is executive director of American Majority Action. “They’re communicating his strength and showing how painful it would be to take him on.” 

Should the governor decide to seek a third term, as expected, Walker will be running statewide for the fourth time after being elected in 2010 and reelected in a 2012 recall and in 2014. In November, President Trump carried the state by less than a point and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the cycle.

Walker strategists believe that the state’s unemployment rate and his substantial fundraising apparatus give the incumbent a leg up on the competition, regardless of who it is.


Republicans have been systematically targeting these potential candidates. The research compiled before and after January’s meeting has leaked into local press as candidates continue to take themselves out of contention. 

“The steady stream of prospective candidates taking a pass on running for governor is no accident,” said Alec Zimmerman, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Republican Party. “Democrats are in disarray, and it’s going to be incredibly difficult for anyone to run against the Wisconsin comeback.”

Rep. Ron Kind was one of the first major Democrats to tease a possible run when he told Wisconsin Public Radio in mid­February that he hadn’t ruled out a Walker challenge. Republican sources said the party began readying a statewide digital­ad campaign targeting Kind on the scandal at the Veterans Affairs medical center at Tomah. But before Republicans could hit Kind with evidence that his office knew about veteran abuse there in 2008, Kind told the Associated Press that he wouldn’t run after all. Republicans and Democrats alike anticipate similar attacks could crop up when he runs for reelection next year.

Venture capitalist Mark Bakken was also reported to be a possible candidate, only to tell those close to him by the end of March that he wouldn’t run. One Bakken associate said last week that he wasn’t truly considering a run and did not want to put family and investors through the rigors of a campaign.

But Republicans didn’t take any chances, given a possibly well-heeled Bakken candidacy. Multiple Republican sources confirmed reports that GOP operatives had dug up details about Bakken’s alleged implication in an ongoing sexual­harassment suit against his business partner. 

The Republican Party of Wisconsin isn’t wasting time on the remaining field, filing public records requests with Wachs and Happ’s offices. The state party has filed records requests on Gronik’s nonprofit, Stage W, and accused it of being a “campaign in waiting” for the Milwaukee businessman. 


Read the full article online here.