As expected, multi-millionaire self-funder Mary Burke has announced that she will run against Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker(R-Kochlandia).
Mary Burke, a former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive and state Commerce secretary, ended months of speculation Monday by announcing in a web video that she is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Scott Walker.
Burke, who becomes the instant Democratic primary favorite, emphasizes her business background and Wisconsin roots in the three-minute video. As a millionaire, she brings substantial personal money to the race, giving her a leg up in fundraising that delights many Democrats but also provides a potential critique for Republicans.
She's been courted by the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
Here's her web announcement:
She's the first to announce. Other potential candidates are still deciding or have been driven out of the race due mostly to Burkes ability to self-fund.
Along with Burke, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) is mulling a run against Walker in 2014. She would have to give up her Senate seat to run.Burke is socially liberal, but a more corporate Democrat on other issues.
"I wish Mary Burke the best," Vinehout said in a brief statement. "Politics is fun, exhilarating and important. Running for office is a great education. Everybody should do it at least once."
"Just like Washington, our state capital has become so focused on politics and winning the next political fight, it's pulling our state apart and our economy down," she says.
Burke has run only one political race — a successful campaign last year for the Madison school board — but was named by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in 2005 to serve in his cabinet as his point person on economic development.
Republicans have expected Burke to run and have already purchased the rights to the maryburke.com website (yeah, they're acting like children - no surprise). And the attack is already on.
Phil Cox, the executive director of the Republican Governors Association, called Burke nothing but a "sacrificial lamb" for Democrats, pointing to Walker's election victories in both the 2010 gubernatorial campaign and the 2012 recall race sparked by his legislation to repeal most collective bargaining for most public employees.
"A former appointee of the disastrous Jim Doyle administration, Burke's candidacy is sure to rely on the tax-and-spend model of governing that plagued Wisconsin for years before Governor Scott Walker stepped in to clean up the mess that Burke helped create," Cox said in a statement.
Republicans also have pointed to statements made by Burke in 2011 to the Madison weekly Isthmus that she was unhappy living in Milwaukee when she first returned to Wisconsin in the 1980s after living in New York City and Washington, D.C.
"I'd been living in big cities for a while," she told the newspaper. "It was like, 'Wow, what am I doing here?'"
"A vote for Mary Burke is a vote to take Wisconsin backward," said Joe Fadness, executive director of the state GOP. "Burke was part of the team that left Wisconsin with a $3.6 billion budget deficit, big tax hikes and massive job loss — a mess that was fixed by Governor Scott Walker."I expect it to get much, much worse.
The big surprise? Well, JB Van Hollen, our 2 term Republican State Attorney General, has decided not to run for re-election. Right now he's up to his armpits in a bit of a scandal over Open Records requests made of State Legislators. His advice to Democrats has been to cough the records up; his advice to Republicans has been to refuse. It may have little to nothing to do with his decision to not run for re-election, but I wanted to make a mention.
The entire article in the Journal-Sentinel is worth a read.
Her website (very thin right now) is here.