• WisPolitics

Monday, June 07, 2010

 11:18 AM 

Tate remains on offense one year into term as DPW chair

Mike Tate has a straightforward approach to being chair of the state Dem Party.

“If you’re not punching your opponent in the face, it’s much easier for him to hit you,” the 31-year-old Tate told WisPolitics.com in his pre-convention interview.

The bombastic Tate is approaching his one-year anniversary as state party chair heading into this weekend’s convention in Middleton. When he was elected as the youngest state chair in the country last year, Dems were fresh off re-taking full control of the state Legislature for the first time since the early 1990s and still giddy over Barack Obama’s election. And Republicans were trying to re-organize after back-to-back losing elections.

But things have changed dramatically since then with polls showing a damaged Dem brand and Republicans openly talking about taking back the U.S. House and possibly the Senate, along with the state Legislature and the guv’s office.

While acknowledging the voter angst, Tate isn’t buying any of the doomsday predictions. He attributes that to two things: the quality of Dem candidates and the strength of the party’s organization.

“I would stack up our organizational know-how in the Democratic Party infrastructure against anybody,” said Tate, who was supplanted earlier this year as the youngest state chair in the country. “I think here in Wisconsin we know how to get our voters out, we know how to identify our voters. We know how to use the more sophisticated tools that are available for campaigns and elections, and we are going to put all of that to task, bring all of these efforts to bear in bringing enough Democrats out to get Tom Barrett elected governor, send Russ Feingold back to Washington, keep our congressional delegation as it is and hold the Senate and the Assembly.

"I’m very confident about that, and it’s absolutely going to come down to who‘s going to vote on Election Day, and I think that’s where our strength is going to be.”

As an example, Tate points to Feingold’s campaign, which he said now features some 40 staffers, has field offices across the state and has already knocked on thousands of doors in what he says will be the Middleton Dem’s “biggest effort ever.”

Tate, who turned 31 in March, has earned a reputation for blasting opponents on a daily basis through DPW press releases and has shown no signs of backing down despite complaints from Republicans and conservative talk radio that he goes too far.

Tate said none of his attacks have prompted any worried calls from elected Dems that he’d stepped over the line, adding he feels he has nothing to prove to Wisconsin Dems in spite of his youth. Having worked for numerous campaigns and third parties in the state, Tate says he has earned it.

“If they didn’t take me seriously, it was for other reasons” than age, Tate cracked.

Read more.

-- By JR Ross


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