Kelda Helen Roys 2.jpg

Kelda Helen Roys ran for Congress in 2012, losing to Mark Pocan in the Democratic primary.

PHOTO BY JOHN HART - State Journal

With the launch of firefighter union head Mahlon Mitchell's campaign on Monday, the field of Wisconsin Democrats seeking to unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker is up to 11. 

Here's a rundown of the Democratic candidates who have entered the 2018 gubernatorial race, listed in alphabetical order. It will be updated if/when others announce their candidacies.

Michele Doolan: Doolan, 43, is a hair salon owner and PTO president from Cross Plains. She launched her campaign in August, and has raised $700 of a $200,000 goal on the Crowdpac fundraising website.  

Tony Evers: The state Superintendent of Public Instruction announced his candidacy in August. Evers won his third statewide victory since 2009 in April.

Evers, 65, said Walker has failed to adequately invest in public education at every level, failed to strengthen the middle class and engaged in divide-and-conquer style politics since he first took office. He has been an outspoken critic of the way Walker's administration has handled allegations of widespread abuse at the state's youth prison.

Matt Flynn: Flynn, 70, is a retired commercial litigation partner with Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee. He served as chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin from 1981 to 1985, and mounted several unsuccessful campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Flynn, who launched his campaign last month, has pledged to focus on fair wages, road improvements, open government and water quality. He announced this week that he would support marijuana legalization if it is backed by a majority of voters.

Andy Gronik: The Milwaukee businessman entered the race in July. A 60-year-old political newcomer, Gronik has touted his credentials as the founder of a company that advises businesses looking to expand. 

Gronik, whose family purchases health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, has said he would prioritize access to health care and investments in public education. He has been a vocal critic of the state's $3 billion incentive package for Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn. 

Bob Harlow: Harlow, 25, grew up in Barneveld and returned in Wisconsin in August after graduating from Stanford University with a physics degree. He lost a primary election for Congress in California last year and was the first declared Democratic candidate in the Wisconsin governor's race.

A centerpiece of Harlow's campaign platform is a pledge to install a high-speed train line, the cost of which would be shared by Minnesota, Illinois and the federal government, he said.

Dave Heaster: Heaster, 51, describes himself on Twitter as a "retired eCommerce geek." He ran unsuccessfuly against Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner in 2012.

Mike McCabe: McCabe, 56, is the former head of the campaign finance watchdog Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. He founded the nonprofit group Blue Jean Nation in 2015 with the goal of restructuring the priorities of the country's political parties. McCabe ran as a Democrat against now-Congressman Mark Pocan for the state Assembly in 1998, but also worked for three Republican legislators.

His platform, launched in September, includes increasing the minimum wage, increasing access to high-speed internet and phone service, allowing all Wisconsin residents to buy into the state's BadgerCare health insurance program and making Wisconsin "the nation's clean energy capital."

Mahlon Mitchell: The 40-year-old president of the Professional Fire Fighters Association of Wisconsin launched his campaign on Monday. Mitchell, who rose to prominence during the protests that followed Walker's Act 10 legislation, ran unsuccessfully against Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch in the 2012 recall effort to unseat her and Walker.

Mitchell said he is running for governor because it is "time for a change" after eight years of Walker, pledging to invest in public education and infrastructure and to bolster consumer protection and wages.  

Roys represented Madison in the state Assembly for four years after winning a six-way primary in 2008. She left her seat in 2012 to mount an ill-fated Congressional campaign, eventually losing to fellow Madison Democrat Mark Pocan. She went on to become the CEO and founder of real estate tech company OpenHomes. Roys said Democrats need to articulate a "positive vision for the future" to draw in people who haven't been engaged in politics. 

Jeff Rumbaugh: Rumbaugh, 45, lives in Madison and works with adults with disabilities. He named the environment and green energy as priorities. 

Kathleen Vinehout: Vinehout, 59, announced her plans to run for governor in September, saying she would "put people first." Vinehout’s platform includes offering free tuition at technical colleges and two-year colleges, access to affordable health care and higher wages for workers.

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First elected to the state Senate in 2006, Vinehout won 4 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary in the 2012 recall election against Gov. Scott Walker, and briefly considered another bid in 2014. Her Senate seat is up for election in 2018.

Dana Wachs: An attorney and state representative from Eau Claire, Wachs launched his campaign in August pitching himself as an "advocate for regular folks." 

Wachs, 60, named the economy as the most significant arena in need of change. Low wages and student loan debt in particular need to be addressed, and collective bargaining rights should be restored, he said.


The following candidates have filed paperwork to run but have not announced campaigns:

Brett Hulsey: Hulsey, 58, served in the state Assembly from 2011 through 2014, and ran unsuccessfully in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary. He has earned a reputation for antics that include bringing a box cutter to his Capitol office and promising to hand out Ku Klux Klan hoods at the state Republican convention. Hulsey currently works as an environmental consultant and owns a fitness business.

Kurt Kober: Kober, 39, is a retail strategy director for The Clorox Co. and lives in Sheboygan. He is a board member of the Sheboygan Public Education Foundation and once served as president of the College Democrats of Wisconsin.

Jared Landry: Landry, 38, is a private investigator from La Farge. He ran unsuccessfully in a Democratic primary against Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, in 2016.

Andrew Lust: Lust is a political newcomer. He has not raised any money toward a $30 million donation goal on a GoFundMe page. His campaign committee is registered as Lust for Wisconsin.

Ramona Whiteaker: Whiteaker, 59, is a photographer from Stoughton. 

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Jessie Opoien covers state government and politics for the Capital Times. She joined the Cap Times in 2013 and has also covered Madison life, race relations, culture and music. She has also covered education and politics for the Oshkosh Northwestern.