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Saturday, June 06, 2015

 4:54 PM 

Laning: We're going to win and win big



New Dem Chair Martha Laning promised Dems are going to "win races and win races big in the future" under her leadership.

Speaking with reporters for the first time as chair, Martha Laning said the house of cards Republicans built has begun to fall down around them because of a series of misplaced priorities.

"It's time we send that message in a values-driven way," Laning said.

Laning has worked for companies such as Target Inc. and led the effort to raise and build a $4.6 million community center in her home county of Sheboygan. She ran for the 9th Senate District in fall, but lost with 40 percent of the vote.

She said she would make chair her full-time job and plans to take a salary in the position. Laning said she did not know what the salary would be. A check of the party's federal campaign finance reports shows former Chair Mike Tate was paid $122,496 over the past year.

While Laning has experience fundraising and as a Senate candidate, she has not run a statewide campaign or political organization. She pledged to bring in "the people that have the skills that you need" to round out her team at the party. Laning said she would talk to "our customers" to get feedback on the party and did not expect any immediate staff changes.

Going into the convention, the race was largely considered a three-way contest between Laning, DNC member Jason Rae and former state Chair Joe Wineke. The day before the convention commenced, a fourth candidate, former state Rep. Jeff Smith, dropped out and asked his backers to support Laning.

Laning again said she did not offer Smith a job in exchange for his support and promised to begin the process of reaching out to others after a contentious race that included deep divisions, particularly between the Laning and Rae camps.

"That’s my job," she said. "I’m going to reach out to everybody and say what has happened is in the past, and its time to move forward."

-- By JR Ross

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