By Collin Roth
With less than 3 weeks before the Democratic primary, Democratic candidate Kathleen Falk has been unable to earn the endorsement of a single Wisconsin state senator who fled the state during the budget repair battle in 2011.
This is quite remarkable given that Falk has no less than sold her soul to the unions when she signed a pledge before Mary Bell of WEAC and Marty Beil of AFSCME to veto any budget that does not fully restore collective bargaining rights for public employees. In the wake of the ‘veto pledge,’ Falk racked up a number of endorsements of major unions in Wisconsin including the AFL-CIO, WEAC, AFSCME, SEIU, the AFT and others.
It would stand to reason then that at least some members of the ‘Wisconsin 14,’ the gang of Democratic state senators that fled Wisconsin to Illinois for nearly a month at the behest of union leaders would line up behind Kathleen Falk for governor. But that hasn’t been the case.
Six members of the ‘Wisconsin 14’ have lined up behind Falk’s opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Sens. Lena Taylor, Tim Cullen, Tim Carpenter, Jim Holperin, Bob Jauch, and Jon Erpenbach have all endorsed Tom Barrett in recent days. Another member of the ‘Wisconsin 14,’ Kathleen Vinehout, is running for Governor and challenging Barret, Falk, and Doug La Follette for the Democratic nomination.
That leaves seven Democratic State Senators who fled the state left who could endorse Falk for governor including Senator Mark Miller of Madison. Of course some, if not all, may choose not to endorse in the Democratic primary.
Recent polls show that Barrett appears to have a commanding lead over Falk in the race for the Democratic nomination. Organized labor is perhaps learning a tough lesson. That despite the ‘solidarity’ and good feelings of the last year, the Democratic establishment appears to be choosing pragmatism over principle.