On Politics: Progressives United will support Mary Burke against Scott Walker

2013-10-22T09:15:00Z On Politics: Progressives United will support Mary Burke against Scott WalkerMATTHEW DeFOUR | Wisconsin State Journal | mdefour@madison.com | 608-252-6144 madison.com

In an early sign that liberal activists will coalesce around Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke's candidacy, the organization Progressives United announced Tuesday it will support the Madison School Board member against Gov. Scott Walker.

The organization, founded in 2011 by former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, conducted a poll of members in Wisconsin to determine whether to get in early behind Burke. Of the more than 3,000 responses, more than 75 percent favored backing Burke now.

The poll was conducted amid criticism from several liberal activists and bloggers around the state that little is known about Burke other than that she is a multimillionaire, former executive at Trek Bicycle, a nonunion company, who had supported a controversial charter school in Madison. She also was commerce secretary for two-and-a-half years under Gov. Jim Doyle, which Republicans are harping on as a way to link Burke to the high unemployment and job losses at the end of Doyle's term.

Some, including former Madison mayor Dave Cieslewicz, have argued a primary would benefit the nominee. But so far only Burke has entered the race with heavy backing from party officials. Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, a favorite of many of the activists critical of Burke, has said she is considering a run, but won't make a decision until early next year.

In a letter, Progressives United executive director Cole Leystra asked for donations so that Burke can start building a grassroots organization early to counter the influence of Republican corporate sponsors who "want to convince other Republican governors that it's politically safe to slash collective bargaining, reduce school budgets, and restrict the fundamental rights of women."

"She will work tirelessly to restore the progressive traditions of Wisconsin, create good paying jobs for Wisconsinites, and end the nasty politics of division that have become Scott Walker's trademark," Leystra wrote. "There's no time to wait."

The announcement notes the organization has raised more than $1.4 million for candidates in Wisconsin and across the country, including nearly $500,000 for Wisconsin recall candidates.

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(15) Comments

  1. Mr Mellow
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    Mr Mellow - October 25, 2013 11:16 am
    Bill Krause, long-time keen-eyed moderate Republican observer of Wisconsin politics, has recently predicted that Scott Walker will not run for re-election next year, and that our AG, J.B. Van Hollen (R-ALEC) -- who resigned the day Burke announced -- will run for Governor.
  2. deernut00
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    deernut00 - October 22, 2013 6:48 pm
    Easy to connect George Soros and his money to Burke. He is behind the progressive movement and is all about communism, which is the new Progressive torch that the liberals are carrying. Easy to search George Soros out and learn more about him and his Progressive ideas.
    Not a good thing for WI, given the great strides WI has made these last few years under the leadership of Scott Walker. We don't really want to go back to the Doyle days, that is for certain.
  3. MrNatural
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    MrNatural - October 22, 2013 4:45 pm
    Since the Obama re-election, progressives have become accustomed to voting with clothes pins on their noses
  4. MagnusP
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    MagnusP - October 22, 2013 11:58 am
    I wonder how many grass roots Progressives will write checks or volunteer for Burke when she is being jammed down their throats?
  5. GaryRobbins
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    GaryRobbins - October 22, 2013 11:37 am
    No, it's not that this isn't news. It is news and it should be just another news article.
    But when my phone gets alerted to "BREAKING NEWS" it should be something that is major, shocking and/or of immediate concern.
    This isn't even close to any of those, so it should not have been Breaking News and it certainly shouldn't have alerted our phones as such.
  6. Beingbucky
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    Beingbucky - October 22, 2013 10:40 am
    I get it. A lot of posters perked up when they heard the breaking news chime on their smart phone, expecting that some prominent state politician had just been indicted. Maybe next time.
  7. retired
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    retired - October 22, 2013 9:57 am
    It's news that the union's are not supporting Walker. WOW, didn't see this coming, wow.
    Slow day in news room, know doubt.
  8. Weirdwise
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    Weirdwise - October 22, 2013 9:57 am
    This is news and a blow to Vinehout and those hoping she will challenge Burke in a primary.
  9. Matt DeFour Staff
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    Matt DeFour - October 22, 2013 9:50 am
    What's that comment even based on? It's news because of the criticism Burke has faced from several liberal activists that I wrote about last week and the question as to whether there will be a primary.
  10. B-Man
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    B-Man - October 22, 2013 9:43 am
    What about Brett Hulsey?
  11. Zoltan
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    Zoltan - October 22, 2013 9:22 am
    Now that the Governor seems prepared to vault into national prominence-- be still our hearts, with the release of his 'book" in November detailing his combat with workers and farmers on tractors circling the Capitol--most Democrats and a number of non-partisans would endorse Attila The Hun if they thought it would help chase Walker out of the state.
  12. Norwood44
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    Norwood44 - October 22, 2013 9:15 am
    Smart move. If this stymies Dem discord, and they unite around Ms. Burke, she has a good chance of moving the state past the divisiveness of Walker's regime. She could be the New Democrat the state needs.
  13. swarley
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    swarley - October 22, 2013 9:02 am
    This IS shocking. wow wow ...you mean the liberals aren't backing Walker?...wow.
  14. timbo
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    timbo - October 22, 2013 8:42 am
    that settles it. Burke is going to the altar alone.
  15. GaryRobbins
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    GaryRobbins - October 22, 2013 8:33 am
    This is "Breaking News"?!
    That progressives are supporting a democratic candidate running against Scott Walker in the gubernatorial race?
    What's the next breaking news story, that there will be snow in Wisconsin this winter?

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