Wisconsin state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, has made no secret of her interest in running for governor, but on Thursday she described how she is already actively campaigning to gather support for a likely candidacy.

“I will be making my decision after the first of the year but every single day I get closer and find more people who are willing to help (my campaign),” she said on the “Drive Home with Sly” radio program (WEKZ-AM).

The host, John “Sly” Sylvester, responded: “That sounds a little more committal than you have sounded in the past, you said you are actively going out and looking for support?”

Vinehout replied:

“Absolutely, yes, and I have been in the month of October, I've found a lot of people who are willing to help, I'm talking about running a grassroots campaign, a campaign that would involve people all over the state, putting their time and energy into what I think a lot of people want to do, which is get rid of this governor.”

Vinehout has been ramping up her campaign schedule recently. She hosted an event at the Harmony Bar on Madison’s eastside on Friday, a town hall meeting Saturday morning near Antigo; another town hall in the afternoon in Rhinelander; and she is coming back to Madison on Sunday for a “meet and greet” at the Chocolaterian Café on Atwood Ave.

Although the second term senator did not specifically mention Mary Burke, the only currently declared Democratic candidate, she made a veiled reference to Burke's hesitation to take firm stands on major issues.

"I think people are very tired of the 'I'm not going to say anything' talking points,” she said. “They want a candidate who will answer the questions, take positions on the issues and be available to the public."

Vinehout also took a swipe at the state Democratic Party, which actively encouraged and is now aggressively promoting Burke's candidacy.

"I know that there's conventional wisdom at the top of the Democratic Party that the only way we can win is to raise lots of money and run lots of TV ads,” she said. “I believe that type of thinking is wrong."

The Democrats, said Vinehout, are making the mistake of trying to play by the money-driven rules established by corporate-funded Republicans. To win, she said, Democrats have to “turn the conventional wisdom on its head.”

Skeptics of Vinehout point out that her attempt to run a small-money campaign in last year's recall resulted in her garnering a measly four percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. And party strategists are worried that Vinehout vacating the Senate to run for governor could result in the GOP winning the western Wisconsin seat next year.

While calling Vinehout a “phenomenal public servant and intellectual heavyweight,” state Democratic Party chair Mike Tate expressed concern that she would be able to mount an effective campaign, adding that it would be a “great loss to the people of Wisconsin” if she weren’t still in public office in January of 2015.

"The reality is that while we will never have as much money as Scott Walker it is not realistic to believe you can defeat him without running a serious, professional campaign that raises enough money to get the Democratic message out,” Tate said in a statement. “The stakes are too high for our families that are struggling under Scott Walkers policies for anyone to attempt a bid for Governor that will not and cannot raise the money needed to run a grassroots campaign that can communicate with voters at their door, via television, direct mail and the Internet. Modern times require modern campaigns."

Vinehout supporters argue that she has a better chance this year than she did during the short time frame before the recall election, when Democrats were scrambling to unite behind a candidate who could beat Gov. Scott Walker.

The evidence is clear at the national level that Democrats can win by raising a lot of money, often from the same sources as Republicans. One needs to look no further than President Barack Obama, who crushed campaign finance records in both of his two campaigns for president. And Sen. Tammy Baldwin's victory over Tommy Thompson last year is largely attributed to the financial advantage she gained from avoiding the type of bruising primary that sapped Thompson's resources before the general election.

Vinehout's comments, however, suggest that she believes that the problem with money in campaigns extends beyond elections and results in the type of pervasive governing that has turned off people across the state and country.

“The more I talk to people and listen to what they're saying, I believe we are at a time, perhaps a tipping point in our history where, one thing we can all agree on, no matter what your political persuasion, people hate money in politics,” she said.

“How do you get money out of politics? You beat it.”

 

Jack Craver is the Capital Times political reporter, focusing on elections, candidates and campaign finance.

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(26) comments

Yvette9b
Yvette9b

I am so excited by a Vinehout candidacy. She is such a great person, and doesn't have the Dane Co. baggage that Mary Burke, and does not have the Jim Doyle drag on her candidacy, either. Money is still not the primary driver in this election. Both Burke and Vinehout are currently polling about equally against Walker.

Run, Kathleen, run.

WI_Expat
WI_Expat

Just have to laugh that "Sly" is considered a platform discussing candidates for Governor of Wisconsin....that in itself should be an indication of futility.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

I hope Kathleen runs. I think an open and honest primary would be good for the democrats and I think she has a better grasp of the policy prescriptions we need. By the same token I think an Vinehout-Burke or Burke-Vinehout ticket would be hard to beat. Walker is tainted and Kleefisch is a about as personable and about as intelligent as a fish.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

actually, I think fish are smarter….

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

I'd like to see a primary too, it's a good way for the people to get to know the candidates.

Harriet
Harriet

The thought of giving up on Vinehout before even having a primary is too depressing for me to consider. If the Wisconsin Democratic party is actually going to concede that a fat wallet is, in practice, the supreme qualification for office that overrides all others, that is tragic. If the party has forgotten, or consigned to wistful nostalgia, Russ Feingold's first campaign for the Senate, that is sorrowful news indeed. To refresh foggy memories, please see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russ_Feingold#1992_U.S._Senate

. . . paying special attention to the part about "campaigning in a primary against a pair of millionaire opponents."

Nav
Nav

I don't think Mary Burke is, or should be, afraid of a Democratic primary.

A Democratic primary would be a good thing for the party. Kathleen Vinehout deserves to run if she so chooses, and her running will in NO way divide the Democrats as HOPED by the Republicans. In the end we will have ONE candidate the Democrats will stand behind, and whoever it is I hope will highlight Governor Walker's pathetic record for the voters of Wisconsin while ALSO offering his or her solutions.

We KNOW whoever the Governor's opponent is, he will engage in negative advertisement. The Democratic opponent should take the high road instead, and let the Governor self destruct!

gkmoynihan
gkmoynihan

If Vinehout had the good fortune to have a financially successful father then we may have a race but as it stands only one has a platform and the other has the checkbook.

saunaaiti
saunaaiti

I strongly support Sen. Vinehot now as I did during the recall election. I attended the Town Hall meeting for her in Rhinelander on Saturday. She has a 44page handout full of charts and statistics about the Walker budget refuting much of the misinformation, aka lies, that we hear endlessly from the GOP. She also has her own budget leaving no uncertainty about her priorities. She backs up the info with the sources.

She is passionate, down to earth, intelligent which comes through every time I have heard her speak, compassionate, all the qualities we need to heal this divided and conquered state. And believe me, with the moral of the people in this state at an all time low, we feel and act like a conquered people. Sen. Vinehout is a ray of hope and just what we need.

Everyone who supports her and supports getting money out of politics must get involved! If a person can't get behind Vinehout, then get behind Mary Burke. We have got to cahnge what is happening in Wisconsin.

tomtom33
tomtom33

The GOP tells lies. The Democrats tell truths? If you like your health insurance, you can keep it, period.

Get money out of politics. Obama out-spent his opposition twice in getting elected President. Do you suppose that his campaign website crashed? Tammy also outspent Tommy.

Your message would be stronger without the extraneous baloney.

Jocks
Jocks

Right on tomtom33! Tax and spend for more "nanny-state" entitlements amid lies defines the Dems.

everclear
everclear

Yes, "mission accomplished" Iraq has weapons of mass destruction" Oh and the folks that can't keep their Junk insurance is about 3%. Some of those policy's pay for 5 doctor visits and the first $50 of your hospital bill. Go to the ER with chest pains, and spend the day testing in the hospital will run you about $8000. That's a lot for the average Walmart employee who makes about $17,000 per year and depends on food stamps to feed their children

196ski
196ski

" Iraq has weapons of mass destruction". Bill and Hillary Clinton thought so, so did Joe Biden and a host of other democrats. How long ago was that? You're getting desperate when you bring up stuff from over a decade ago.

What junk insurance? You mean the insurance purchased through reputable insurers that didn't cover maternity, pediatric care and in house substance abuse treatment. Just what every middle age person wants.
$8000 for chest pains, explain how someone on a limited budget is going to cover 3-5K deductibles and 40% copay. You realize that those people with your so called "junk insurance" got more bang for the buck because they weren't paying for something they would never need.

So because Obama only lied to 3-8 million people it's okay? Sorry, a lie is a lie and this is just one of many this administration has told. They have zero credibility.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

Frankly ski, I doubt either Bill or Hillary actually believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Both did certainly claim as much at different times, but I think it was more a matter of political expedience as opposed to conviction.

To be honest with you, I don't think there was an "informed" politician who actually bought that line of crap about Iraq and WMD, including Colin Powell. I think most exploited the "fear" of WMD for political gain.

FTR exploiting a fear of WMD was exactly what Saddam was doing. He did so to create stability. Our politicians played a part in the charade because it did create stability. It also allowed our politicians to exploit the situation for their own political gain. I think everyone knew better, but once the horse was out of the barn, nobody could corral it.

When Bush used the pretext of WMD to launch the war with IRAQ, everyone was trapped by two political forces. They had beaten a phony drum for so long they couldn't back track now and 9/11 had whipped the country into an anti-muslim frenzy.

So did Bush lie? No more so than other people. On a scale of moral depravity however, I do think Dubya crossed a line the others would not have until they were pushed over it.

Exploiting lies for political gain is a dangerous thing. Allowing our politicians to do so is foolish. Unfortunately it happens all to often ski.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Something to add to the discussion below...

I supported the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 that stated that Iraq was in material breach of the ceasefire terms presented under the terms of Resolution 687, and I still support that resolution to this day. It is our right as individuals to agree or disagree with UN Resolutions; however, the pain-staking process that the UN goes through to justify their resolutions was the RIGHT process. I really don't care one darn bit what anyone thinks of G.W. Bush in regards to Iraq or anything else; however, waiting for a UN Resolution was the correct process for President Bush. He allowed the the UN to do their job.

All this continuous smearing of the Bush administration is just a bunch of hindsight partisan hogwash. Choices were made based on the best available information available at the time, the United States was NOT the only country that believed that Iraq had WMD's and that they were in breach of the UN Resolution 687. Honestly, I think it's about time that everyone actually read the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

Fartinthewind,
"Frankly ski, I doubt either Bill or Hillary actually believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Both did certainly claim as much at different times, but I think it was more a matter of political expedience as opposed to conviction."

You know that sounds a whole lot like a nonsense political justification put out there to "protect" a possible future Democratic Party candidate?

If I understand you correctly, you think they said it but they really didn't believe it; so that must mean that they both lied to the American people to continue the fraud case they were building against Saddam throughout the entire Clinton administration, right? ;^)

You do realize that all that intelligence about Iraq and their non-compliance with the UN resolution was not just created overnight after Bush got into office? Clinton had 8 years to proclaim all the intelligence against Saddam a fraud if he didn't believe it, so why didn't he? Maybe he was the one that ordered the creation of all that fake intelligence to trap the upcoming Bush administration. ;^)

Yes, there is a LOT of sarcasm in there. ;^)

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

Hindsight is most certainly 20/20 AA.

Still, we cannot forget that there were voices out there that got it right in real time. Those voices were not just ignored they were marginalized and ultimately discredited. As I write below, those who should have stood up couldn't. They had advanced the country's positions and their own careers flogging the WMD horse.

Here's one question I think we need answered. How in the world did a madman like Saddam fool the world into believing he had WMD? The number of people who got played in this charade is amazing. The fact our leaders got played or played along, when there were ample warnings and experts alerting us to the canard is more than troubling. We can't just brush that all away by cutting and pasting quotes from the fooled.

FTR I agree with you about the necessity for the UN resolution. That doesn't excuse the fact we were wrong.

196ski
196ski

CIA "expert" gave a talk at St. Norbert a number of years ago that my daughter attended. Saddam was compromised after the first war and was desperate to keep his neighbors, particularly Iran, at bay. WMD's filled the need. The problem was he did too good a job and fooled a lot of people both here and in Europe.

He did the opposite of what the world would expect. Normally WMD programs are built and shrouded in secrecy, Saddam fueled the rumors and played endless games with the inspectors.

He fooled the world to his own demise. Our mistake was not knowing when to leave. The constant Bush bashing is self serving revisionist history.

tomtom33
tomtom33

Remember the defection of Saddam's sons-in-law? One of them was pretty high up in Saddam's WMD program. That is what is known as first-hand knowledge. That and the bodies of the Iranians and Kurds that were gassed to death made for some pretty solid evidence.

If you like it, you can keep it. Period. He said nothing about any 3%. Period. Do you know what period means? If he did not know that what he said was not correct, he was not lying. If he was not lying, he was(is) clueless.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

Ski I tend to agree with you. Saddam played a game. His game was supported by the US because playing the game supported the interests of both sides. In the end it bit everyone in the ass.

For the life of me I can't believe that the CIA didn't read Bush in on the game. To me that means Bush had to know that Saddam didn't have an active WMD program. Bush banged the drum anyway. The son in laws and Chalabi didn't provide first-hand knowledge of any current information. They were frauds and had been identified as so by elements within the intelligence community.

So you will have to excuse me ski. Claiming Bush lied probably isn't revisionist history. Ignoring the fact that the lying was wide spread? Now that is conveniently revisionist.

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

AA below:

She doesn't need my rationalizations. Hillary's cover will be provided by all the other willing participants in the canard who now claim this was all a failure of intellegence. It will be provided by posters who spent years protecting Bush.

AllAmerican11B
AllAmerican11B

RESURRECTING THIS CONVERSION BECAUSE IT'S RELEVANT TODAY!

Fartinthewind,
"Here's one question I think we need answered. How in the world did a madman like Saddam fool the world into believing he had WMD?"

Saddam wasn't fooling about all of it. Please read the article and listen to the video report linked below, if you ignore this report just because of the source, you are being willfully ignorant.

Pentagon withheld information about decades-old chemical weapons during Iraq War, report claims

Those same chemical weapons that "didn't exist" in Iraq are now in the hands of ISIS; now that's wonderful place for them to be.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

Why tom, now that Republicans have screwed up so bad and the big money has shifted over to the Democrats…. Now you want to get money out of politics!

What do you Republicans always say….What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

I suppose you'll be saying the same thing about drawing the redistricting maps in 2020 if the Democrats are in charge. One party shouldn't be allowed to draw the maps?

Funny thing politics….. one party never stays in control forever. But Republicans are trying to change the rules so they do…..except the Republicans scared wall street and big business just enough for them to throw money at the Democrats…..

How's that hopey changey thing working for you now?

tomtom33
tomtom33

Who has screwed things up? Obama may wind up setting liberalism back for many years.

Each party tries to do whatever they can to gain and maintain advantage. Politics is a game played for keeps. Remember Chuck Chvala? I just finished reading a book about the Bulger brothers. Those MA Democrats were(are) an upstanding bunch. How about those IL Democrats?

fact_based
fact_based

Mike Tate has ZERO credibility in advising anyone how to win elections.
Make no mistake: Burke is the machine favorite because she's rich and has her own set of political crony capitalists. Vinehout will be the people's candidate. She is able to connect on a personal level. I've experienced it numerous times at rallies and campaign events. She's also a policy wonk who will be able to call Walker out face to face on his lies when it comes time to debate.
I've never seen Burke at any of the above events or standing up for political dissenters like Solidarity Sing Along participants who are challenging Walker's corporate coup at the Capitol.

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