Monday, August 19, 2013

It Isn't Void of Burke Fawning, but Winnebago Co. Exec. Mark Harris Gets Exposure

So, this past weekend I made a plea to have the journalistic fawning over Mary Burke stop and instead have a little light be shown onto the other possible Democratic candidates for Governor.

Looks like today, Winnebago Co. Executive Mark Harris is making that happen.

From JSOnline: 
Harris has been meeting with progressive Democratic groups, making the rounds on political talk shows and telling anyone who asks that he'll make his decision by Labor Day. 
But in an interview with the Journal Sentinel Monday he stepped closer to entering the race when he said: "I think I'm going to throw my hat in the ring and see where it goes from there." 
I like that attitude.

I've made mention of Mr. Harris before, and his interview with WisEye is WELL worth the watch for those interested in what his positions are. But we do get a sample of his level headedness and thought process from the Journal-Sentinel article:
"The real decision is whether I'm making a contribution toward removing Scott Walker from another turn or not," Harris said in a telephone interview. "I'm in a situation where I cannot raise money toward a governor's race until I file the paperwork and announce my intent. It's difficult to test the waters in advance." 
...
"It's going to cost a lot of money and I'm hoping the Democrats are smart enough to keep the expenses relatively low in a primary," Harris said. "A statewide campaign costs a lot of money. You're probably talking millions when you're talking about the governor's race. The governor will have more money than the Democrats." 
...
He is now serving his third term as county executive and said he has "always proposed and had budgets that are truly balanced." 
"The county's debt is lower than when I started," he said. "The county's reserves are higher than when I started. We've had four consecutive years of decreasing tax levy."
Harris said if he runs, he'll emphasize issues of education and fairness and added that the Democrats have to come up with positive proposals to win.
 
"It's not all about Walker," he said. "It has to be about what favorable things you do. But there's not going to be a lot of money (in the budget). If you're planning to keep your promises you have to keep them fairly modest." 
But of course, it wouldn't be an article about the Democratic Primary if it didn't at least feature SOMETHING about Ms. Burke.
Harris doesn't have the backing of the Democratic Party establishment, which appears to be lining up behind the potential candidacy of Madison School Board member Mary Burke. 
Really? You mean because she's getting help from a political consultant who has long ties in Wisconsin Democratic politics? That really means nothing to me. To say that Ms. Burke has the backing of the Democratic establishment at this point is speculation turned to fact. I'm sorry, nobody has ever come out and said they are eager for Burke to be the nominee.

Plus, if Wisconsin Democrats have been known to not exactly like what their party wants. (Remember Kathleen Falk's run in the recall?)

Back to the article:
Burke, a former Commerce Department Secretary and Trek Bicycle executive, has met with various constituencies within the party and been shephered to those meetings by key political insiders. 
Earlier this month, a prominent Democrat told the Journal Sentinel that Burke was "more than 50%" of the way to getting into the race.
So, that is their evidence that she is the favored candidate? Please... she's simply a school board member who's not in the position Mr. Harris is as a County Executive. I'll believe more that she is the party favorite after Labor Day when people contemplating a run really show their serious.

Oh, and let's not forget this:
State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) is also pondering a run. Vinehout ran in the Democratic primary for governor during the 2012 recall. 
Don't bet against Sen. Vinehout either. She's a smart and tough rural Western Wisconsin Democrat who I would love to see run. Sure, there are some issues I don't align with her on, but overall she is a great Senator.

Let's see where we are two weeks from today :)

*** UPDATE:

While in the process of writing this posting the Oshkosh Northwestern posted their own article on Harris. They referenced the Journal-Sentinel article, but also talked with Harris themselves and he revealed additional information:
“I just feel like I have a lot of important things to say and I sincerely believe I would do a much better job at being governor,” Harris told Oshkosh Northwestern Media Monday. 
Back in May and June, Harris said some state Democrats approached him and suggested he consider a run for governor. He said he continues to weigh his options now and has met with Democrats in La Crosse, a progressive group in Fitchburg and newspaper editors across the state this summer. 
“I’ve gotten a generally favorable reaction,” Harris said.
I believe this further backs-up my assertion that the any statements about Burke being the favored candidate of the party are greatly exaggerated.

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