• WisPolitics

Monday, June 25, 2007

 4:10 PM 

Wineke dodges potential chair challenge

After taking his lumps from the party's liberal wing, Dem Party Chair Joe Wineke dropped a gig as a lobbyist for AT&T in early June.

The non-salaried Democratic state party chair says the job was distracting attention from the party's mission and that he wanted to head off the possibility someone would challenge him at the party's state convention.

"We were going into a convention, and the whole issue seemed to be about me," Wineke said. "Am I confident I would have won in the end? Yes, but what would the story have been coming out of the convention? I'm not the story."

Some Dems still grumble the whole situation should have never happened in the first place. But insiders on both sides generally cut him some slack and give him credit for helping Dems to a lot of victories last November.

Wineke said AT&T is the only lobbying gig he has taken since becoming state chair. He said he has worked as a consultant for other interests while chair, but declined to say who they were. He also said he hasn't made a decision about taking another lobbying job while chair.

"Lobbying for labor organizations is OK, but if you lobbying for anyone else, it isn't. The Democratic Party needs to get its act together on that one," Wineke said.

Potential challengers faced a June 8 deadline to file the paperwork to take on Wineke, but no one did.

-- By JR Ross


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