• WisPolitics

Thursday, June 04, 2015

 5:52 PM 

Jeff Smith asks supporters to support Laning in Dem chair race

Former Rep. Jeff Smith this afternoon posted a letter on his Facebook page asking his supporters to back Martha Laning for state party chair.

"I am excited for the potential that a new leadership style will bring to our party and to working with a team dedicated toward a true progressive Wisconsin," he wrote in the letter.

Smith did not immediately return a message left on his cell phone.

Over the weekend, Smith sent delegates a separate letter promising to make Laning the party's executive director if he won the chair's race.

In that letter, Smith wrote delegates have suggested he and Laning former a partnership to “take the party back from the professional consultants and insiders who seem determined to maintain their control.”

Laning said she was "shocked" at the letter, and Smith said it was intended to start the process of bringing the party back together after “a very contentious campaign."

In today's letter, Smith said the party needed to unite, and it was crucial the next chair have the support of a majority of delegates.

"We need to be able to restore trust and build confidence to make the Democratic Party of Wisconsin effective and return to the path of success," he wrote.

UPDATE: Smith said he dropped out of the race for the good of the party, saying he believed it was important for the new chair to win a majority of the delegates in Saturday’s vote. He said that wasn’t going to happen with a five-person race.

“We need to heal, and we need to pull our party together, and we need a leader who can get the majority of the votes behind her,” Smith said.

-- By JR Ross


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