"Snapshot" Lori Compas, a Fort Atkinson-based wedding photographer and progressive political activist, has announced on her Facebook page that, on September 28, she will make a "special announcement" as to what her "next project" will be. Compas also rolled out an endorsement list, complete with an ActBlue page. The only Compas-backed candidate that is running in a competitive Democratic primary that I am aware of is Mary Arnold, a candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly in WI-AD-37, who is running against Laura Cotting for the right to take on the winner of a five-way Republican primary for an open state assembly seat. It's also worth noting that Compas has not endorsed a candidate in the WI-2 Democratic primary.
Here's the quote from Compas's Facebook page:
Hi everybody! Lots of good things happening -- SAVE THE DATE Sept. 28 for an important announcement about my next project.For those of you who aren't familiar with Wisconsin politics, Compas organized a movement to recall Wisconsin State Senate Republican Leader "Big" Scott Fitzgerald after Big Fitz convened after Wisconsin Democratic Party operatives considered Big Fitz's state senate district, WI-SD-13, to be a "safe seat". Compas and her group of volunteers did what the Wisconsin Democratic establishment thought was impossible: gather enough signatures force Big Fitz to run in a recall election. Compas herself ran as a Democrat in the WI-SD-13 recall election, and she ran the single most dedicated campaign for public office that I had ever seen despite having very little chance of winning. She defeated Gary Ellerman, a fake Democrat that was planted by Wisconsin Republican operatives, in the Democratic recall primary with 72% of the vote, but lost the recall general election to Big Fitz 58%-41%.
Obviously, what Compas's "next project" is could be anything from writing a book to running for Governor of Wisconsin, given the fact that Compas gave absolutely no hints whatsoever as to what her "next project" is, but if Compas's "next project" involves running for public office in 2014, here's some possibilities:
-Governor of Wisconsin: If Compas enters the Democratic field for Governor of Wisconsin, she is almost certainly going to draw a clown car of primary challengers by announcing her intention to run for governor over two years prior to the 2014 WI-Gov election, given the fact that she has never held elected office before, and she has only run for public office once.
-Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin: The current Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, never held public office prior to being elected Lieutenant Governor in 2010, and the Democrat who ran in the WI-LtGov recall election, Malhon Mitchell, never held or ran for public office prior to his run for Lieutenant Governor, so Compas may clear the Democratic primary field if she announces a 2014 WI-LtGov bid, but there's no guarantee of that.
-Secretary of State of Wisconsin: The current Secretary of State of Wisconsin is a Democrat, Doug LaFolette, who is the grandson of arguably the most famous Wisconsin politician of all, Robert "Fighting Bob" LaFolette. If LaFollette runs for re-election in 2014, and Compas announces a 2014 WI-SoS bid, Compas would have to run in a Democratic primary against an incumbent who is elderly (Doug is in his early-to-mid 70s, if I'm not mistaken), so a primary challenge against LaFolette would probably be perceived as ageist by Wisconsin voters, given the fact that there doesn't appear to be a clear case for a primary challenge against LaFollette. If LaFolette retires, Compas will probably face one or two primary challengers, but there's no guarantee of that.
-Wisconsin State Senate: There are three state senate districts that Compas would probably not be perceived as a carpetbagger if she ran in one of them: SD-11, which includes Compas's hometown of Fort Atkinson, SD-13, which includes most of the old SD-13 in which Compas ran against Big Fitz earlier this year, and SD-15, which includes UW-Whitewater, where her husband is a professor. SD-11 is an overwhelmingly-Republican, Walworth County-based district currently represented by Neal Kedzie (R). SD-13 is a heavily-Republican district that, compared to the old SD-13, was made slightly more favorable to Democrats in redistricting, but is still heavily-Republican. Compas would have to move in order to run in the new SD-13, which is currently represented by "Big" Scott Fitzgerald (R). SD-15 is a Whitewater/Beloit/Janesville district currently represented by "Crybaby" Tim Cullen (D), although Cullen is highly vulnerable to a primary challenge, but Compas would have to move in order to be the primary challenger to Cullen.
-U.S. House: Compas's hometown of Fort Atkinson is in the overwhelmingly-Republican WI-5, currently represented by Jim Sensenbrenner (R). If Sensenbrenner runs for re-election in 2014, Compas doesn't stand a chance of winning, if Sensenbrenner retires, the only chance Compas has is if Kathy Nickolaus runs and wins the Republican primary, which is highly unlikely.
-Governor of Illinois: As an Illinoisan, I will say this...we welcomed 14 Democratic members of the Wisconsin State Senate to Illinois last year, but we don't welcome people who move here to Illinois simply to run for public office. I'm probably one of only about 10 people in the entire state of Illinois out of several million registered voters who would consider supporting Compas's campaign for Governor of Illinois if she moves here to to run for governor. Our incumbent governor is Pat Quinn (D), by the way.
Lori Compas has been the biggest influence on my political beliefs, and, accordingly, I regard her as a political hero. Regardless of whether or not Compas runs for public office again, I wish her well on her future endeavors.
Comments are welcome, but please keep in mind that Compas has yet to make her announcement about what her "next project" is. I've also included a couple of YouTube videos of Lori Compas below.
Here's a video of Lori Compas and Scott Fitzgerald debating during the SD-13 recall campaign:
Additionally, here's a video of Lori Compas giving a speech at the Reclaim Wisconsin rally earlier this year: