Personally, I think that Mary Burke, a member of the Madison School Board who is currently running against Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as a Democrat, and Kathleen Vinehout, a member of the Wisconsin State Senate who is considering running against Walker as a Democrat, are both “lesser of two evils” by a country mile compared to Walker, who has enacted an extreme, far-right agenda that has negatively impacted the lives of Wisconsinites.
If Vinehout were to enter the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Wisconsin, she will have my endorsement for several reasons:
- She fled to my home state of Illinois in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Act 10 from becoming law in Wisconsin
- She’s a budget wonk, having proposed alternative budgets to the two draconian budgets that were signed into law by Governor Scott Walker
- She’s not a multimillionaire who can spend a bunch of her own money on a gubernatorial campaign
- She’s staunchly opposed Republican-backed efforts to privatize public education in Wisconsin by expanding charter schools and school voucher programs
- She would be a grassroots candidate and not someone who has been shoved down the throats of Wisconsin Democrats by Mike Tate and the rest of the DPW leadership
While I have serious concerns about Vinehout’s mixed record on social issues (she sabotaged a proposed contraception rights bill in 2008 and supports the Castle Doctrine, for example, although she did rail against a Republican-backed forced ultrasound bill earlier this year and was the only Democratic state senator who was allowed to speak out against the bill), Mary Burke has built up a terrible anti-public education record as a member of the Madison School Board, and her policy positions on other issues are largely unknown. Burke supports charter schools, voted against a reasonable 1% pay raise for teachers in Wisconsin’s second-largest school district, and plays the same job-poaching game that Republicans play.
What is even worse is that Burke, and especially DPW Chairman Mike Tate, have argued against a competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary. I view that as a highly undemocratic attempt to undermine the primary system that was implemented in Wisconsin by none other than Wisconsin’s greatest progressive champion Fighting Bob LaFollette. Additionally, I am opposed to the idea of candidates for public office spending ridiculous amounts of their own money on their campaigns, regardless of party affiliation, although Republicans have no standing whatsoever to attack Burke for spending a bunch of her own money on her gubernatorial campaign, after all, right-winger Ron Johnson spent several million dollars of his own money to defeat progressive champion Russ Feingold in the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Wisconsin.
I will endorse the Democratic nominee for Governor of Wisconsin for the general election, as any competent Democrat would be welcome change from the corrupt, right-wing administration of Scott Walker, however, if Kathleen Vinehout were to run in the Democratic primary for Governor of Wisconsin, she’ll have my endorsement.
Vinehout not ruling out run for Wisconsin governor (host.madison.com)