• WisPolitics

Friday, June 07, 2013

 3:31 PM 

Interview: Tate touts grassroots ties, party's future prospects as he makes re-election bid

Mike Tate only sees success in the future of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and says that his "passion and enthusiasm" for the job of Dem party chair is the prime reason why he should be re-elected to the post at the Dem convention this weekend.

"The last four years, we've had some great successes, we've had some tough challenges and we've drawn on the lessons from both make sure that we're in the best position possible to move forward and I'm excited to move forward on that vision," Tate said in an interview with WisPolitics.com ahead of this weekend's DPW convention.

Tate, who was first elected chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in 2009, has hit electoral speed bumps during his two terms. Democrats lost control of the Legislature, the governor's office and Russ Feingold's U.S. Senate seat in 2010. While they succeeded in chipping away and eventually erasing the GOP majority in the Senate in the 2011 and 2012 recall elections, Dems spent millions on a failed recall of Gov. Scott Walker and eventually lost control of the Senate again in the 2012 general election.

Tate, however, says the general election proved Wisconsin leans toward Dems when Barack Obama carried the state and then-U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, beat former Gov. Tommy Thompson by five percentage points for an open U.S. Senate seat.

That hasn't deterred Tate's critics. Aside from the electoral failures, Tate's challenger Joe Kallas has claimed the party was responsible for losing the recall election by discarding grassroots activists. (Read an earlier WisPolitics.com interview with Kallas) Tate fully defends his role in the recall, saying that nothing could have been done differently to change the outcome and that he's made every effort to listen to Dem activists.

"I have traveled over 10,000 miles this year alone, meeting with Democrats from every corner of the state," Tate said. "I have hardly ever seen my opponent at any of these meetings. I had 76 listening sessions all over this state last year, I am an incredibly available chair and I learn an awful lot by listening to members of this party, finding out what needs to happen in different parts of this state and taking action to get people the tools they need on the ground."

* Read more from the interview with Tate
* Listen to the interview


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