Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wisconsin Democrats Have A Bench, And More

Wisconsin Democrats can look ahead and begin showcasing some of their leaders-in-waiting. There's talent out there: the Party and its allies have to be smart about supporting people like these (and this is just an off-the-top of-my-head list, neither comprehensive or exclusive), so let's start, or continue the conversation:

Racine State Rep. Cory Mason. This recent Capital Times profile makes the point.

Lori Compas: She stepped up as a grassroots activist and took on Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a thankless, Herculean task that should be rewarded with a spot somewhere. I can guarantee you that if all the roles were reversed, the GOP would find a way to nurture and prepare her for something later on. That's what the GOP does, and where Democrats have fallen short.

Firefighter and union official Mahlon Mitchell:  A smart party would elevate him after his run for Lt. Governor.

* Wausau State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout. The positive impression she created in the Democratic gubernatorial primary is already valued by Democrats, especially north of, and outside of Madison and Milwaukee, and big city Democrats need to fully appreciate the appeal that out-staters on this lists like this can bring to leadership work and statewide ballots.

La Crosse State Sen. Jennifer Shilling:  She's moved up in legislative ranks and everything I hear about her says "leadership" and "talent."

* Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson:  Don't forget that he gave up a seat and leadership position in the Assembly to run for Lt. Gov. in 2010, then dusted himself off and won the County Executive seat in a conservative area. What does that tell you?

And progressives need to rally around John Lehman, who won back his Racine State Senate seat in a recall race, against great odds.

The GOP has been talking gratuitous trash against Lehman as a guaranteed short-termer since Van Wanggaard fell behind in a race they thought he'd win in a cake walk.

Lehman's incumbency should be a priority right now and in 2014.

I don't know blogger Barb Caffrey, but her commentary on the Wanggaard loss was pretty interesting.

Do not buy into the current GOP narrative that Democrats don't have a bench, or that the recall elections presaged the death of the Progressive Era, as Wauwatosa State Sen. Leah Vukmir predicted during a celebratory talk radio phoner.


Reagan's Disciple said...

That wouldn't be considered a deep bench on a HS team with a losing record.

Malon Mitchell? Apparently you guys didn't listen to this lunatics rant on election night. I was embarrassed for him and would consider him with one statewide election loss as almost a detriment to your party.

The rest are them are really just "guys" with maybe the exception being Schilling who could still rise further. The rest are (sorry to say) at their political ceiling.

The Republicans have 25 of these types of candidates in SE Wisconsin alone, much less the whole state.

The Democrat party is in more trouble than I thought now that I see this list of "future all-stars."

Anonymous said...

Quite the rogue's gallery of people the average Wisconsinite has never heard of . . .

Which is exactly the point, all of the well known state Democrats have been weighed, measured, and found wanting.

Your old friend, Anon Jim

Barb Caffrey said...

Thank you very much for the mention. I appreciate it, especially as I've been commenting (sometimes when it seems like I've been shouting into a wind tunnel) about Van Wanggaard since he got elected in 2010.

I saw Wanggaard's election as an aberration; he's a decent guy who many in the city of Racine believed would be a moderate (not me, but I also didn't think he'd prove to be this conservative or this much of a hypocrite). This angered the electorate in Racine and that's why he's out.

Whereas John Lehman was a known commodity, had done good work for the City of Racine as an Assemblyman and then as a Senator, and never should've been voted out at all. (Had 2010 not been such a horrible year for Dems across the country, he never would've lost his seat.) Which is why he got back in there despite massive spending against him by Wanggaard and Wanggaard's allies, especially as District 21 as it's historically been constituted is a 50/50 swing district.

The recent gerrymandering (complete with non-disclosure agreements by the Rs) has changed that; District 21 will be a solid red district, while District 22 will be made up of the cities of Racine and Kenosha, thus solid blue. This redistricting was awful, and it's the main reason why the statewide Ds seem to believe Lehman is a short-timer.

The thing is, Lehman is a good Senator. He very well might be able to hold District 21, especially if he's given some help. So I do hope he will be given that help as he deserves it.

Nathan Brown said...

I definitely support Senator Kathleen Vinehout's inclusion on this list. But I believe that, while she did receive an endorsement from the Wausau Daily Herald during the gubernatorial primary, she actually hails from Alma in Buffalo County.

James Rowen said...

@ Barb. You are welcome. I also put some of your post at my Purple Wisconsin blog on the Journal Sentinel site.

@the righty trolls: Keep it up, fellas. The wheel will turn.


And I enjoyed among other things the nice crisp line through the name of FORMER senate majority leader FITZGERALD. Not to say that was intentional -it was just a quick effectient means of assigning him to a regular seat in the senate chamber. Too bad they don' 't make him move out of his office.

RD said...

@ Barb

Can't be much of an aberration if Walker won the same district.

Nice try though.

Can anyone still explain how Lehman received more votes than Barrett? Oh..And please don't try the crossover vote explanation. It doesn't hold water.

Anonymous said...

I have a few of my own to add. Kelda Roys is an articulate woman who stood up for progressive values during this past legislative session. Add Chris Taylor too. My friend Ann Muenster lost a very close race for Outagamie County board. Ann is a Democrat, former public school speech pathologist and an activist who has been holding Ribble accountable. I hope she runs for Assembly. Arthur Kohl-Riggs wasn't taken seriously but at age 23 he has a lot of potential. he garnered more votes than Doug LaFollett for governor.

Gareth said...

It will be interesting to see how deep the Republican bench is after Walker does his perp-walk.

Lieutenant Governor Barbie, Scott Fitzgerald, Robin Voss...really?

Anonymous said...

The more I listen to Robin Vos the sillier I think he is. I thought maybe he was a reactionary but possibly smart. Not so much now.

Anonymous said...

RD- whenever I read one of you or "your ilk" state "Democrat Party", I tune out the comment because an educated person knows it's "Democratic Party". That's an old trick that goes back to at least the 1940's but it shows your ignorance. Unless you want to state that you're from the Republic party, dummy...

Anonymous said...

If you have to list Vinehout then you are desperate. When you are beat out by Falk statewide, you have no pull. Maybe if she works on her public speaking...nah.

Anonymous said...

I forgot Louis Molepske, Julie Lassa and Chris Larsen. All three are young and well spoken. I hope that Molepske runs for AG someday soon. I would have added Tamara Grigsby - I love her - but she may be too ill. Also Vicki Selkow from Madison has a lot going for her. Geez. I just keep thinking of great Dems - I don't think the bench IS thin.

Anonymous said...

I forgot Louis Molepske, Julie Lassa and Chris Larsen. All three are young and well spoken. I hope that Molepske runs for AG someday soon. I would have added Tamara Grigsby - I love her - but she may be too ill. Also Vicki Selkow from Madison has a lot going for her. Geez. I just keep thinking of great Dems - I don't think the bench IS thin.

Anonymous said...

The only reason John Lehman won the Senate Seat (it is the voters in Racine seat btw and not John Lehman's, he does not own it) was because the vote was taken in a Democratic leaning district that no longer exists.

The current district is distinctly Republican leaning which will lead to Lehman's doom in 2 years.

Proudly standing with Walker - Anon Jim

RD said...

You couldn't be more correct anon Jim. The Democrat party actually thinks this SD21 is some sort of victory.

I just hope they don't get rid of Zielinski and Tate. They are the gifts that keep on giving and have no clue how to recruit candidates or run campaigns. The longer they stay, the better off for conservatives!