• WisPolitics

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 9:59 AM 

Tate touting Dem comeback because of GOP's 'historic overreach'

Mike Tate said he doesn’t expect to spend years as chair of the state Dem party.

But he’s promising to stick around to defeat Scott Walker, whether that’s in a recall next year or in 2014 at the end of the guv’s first term.

“If we recall Scott Walker next year, I could retire from this job a happy man at 34 years old,” said Tate, who was the youngest state party chair in the nation when first elected at age 30.

Tate took over in 2009 right after Dems registered historic gains that gave them control of the guv’s office, both houses of the Legislature, five of the state’s eight U.S. House seats and both U.S. Senate seats.

But as he heads into his second term unopposed for re-election at this weekend’s state convention, it’s a much different landscape for Wisconsin Dems.

Republicans have both houses of the Legislature and the guv’s office for the first time since the mid-1990s. The GOP controls five of the eight House seats, Ron Johnson knocked off Dem base favorite Russ Feingold in last year’s U.S. Senate race and the state’s other Senate seat will be open next year after Herb Kohl, D-Milwaukee, announced his retirement.

Still, Tate says he can see the tide turning back in Dems’ favor, largely thanks to the “historic overreach” by Walker and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, House Budget chair and architect of a plan to overhaul Medicare that Dems have been using as a club against the GOP.

“We are, I would argue, as strong as we’ve ever been at this point in a cycle,” Tate said.

Tate predicted in a new WisPolitics.com interview that the Dems would hold all of their Senate seats in this summer’s recall elections and win at least three seats to re-take the body, arguing all six Republican seats are winnable. He shttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifaid at worst the Dems could come up one seat shy of winning control of the Senate, but argued that would create even more momentum to recall Walker because of the “need for a check on Walker’s power grabs and legislation he’s been ramming through.”

See more from the interview:

-- By JR Ross


Thursday, May 26, 2011

 5:03 PM 

Dems point to convo attendance as sign of passionate activists

The state Democratic Party says its members are so charged up that its annual convention next weekend in Milwaukee needed a bigger space.

So the convention, originally slated for the Hyatt Regency in downtown Milwaukee, will now take place at the Frontier Airlines Center after the DPW said its allotment of 1,600 spots had been filled.

Those delegates and guests will see a slew of state officeholders, candidates and national party leaders as Dems gear up for as many as nine state Senate recall elections later this summer.

Following a series of meetings next Friday afternoon, the weekend kicks off in earnest with the opening of the convention at 6 p.m. Newly elected county executives Chris Abele of Milwaukee County, Tom Nelson of Outagamie County and Joe Parisi of Dane County will be among the first to address delegates.

DPW Chairman Mike Tate will deliver his report to the convention, followed by speeches from Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca and Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, the Dem members of the congressional delegation and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Friday's program also includes special guest speakers, a group that is set to include new DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and outspoken New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Saturday begins with a breakfast event hosted by retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl of Milwaukee. Kohl will address the delegation later in the morning, along with U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who represents part of Chicago and the city's northern suburbs.

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, touted by many as the best candidate to keep Kohl's seat next year, won't be speaking, having declined the invitation. But he'll be at the convo hosting his traditional hospitality room fare of sloppy joes.

Former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow, D-Chippewa Falls and announced challenger to freshman GOP U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy of Ashland, will also speak Saturday, as will Kenosha County Supervisor -- and challenger to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan -- Rob Zerban.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

The party also says the convention will include a tribute to the "Wisconsin 14" -- the members of the Senate Dem caucus that left the state to stall a vote on the budget repair bill.

See more on the convention:

-- By Andy Szal



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Reporters: Chris Thompson, David Wise

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