The Democratic Party of Wisconsin bristles at the notion that it is in disarray. But that denial comes at roughly the same time as news that one of their highest profile potential candidates to challenge Republican Governor Scott Walker in 2018 is taking a pass. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Tuesday he will not be running for governor in 2018. Most political observers, both left and right, felt Parisi was a lock to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Walker. Instead, Parisi joins a growing list of names who will skip the 2018 governor’s race.
The last three names Democrats seem to be pinning their hopes on are Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), a trial attorney; Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, an unsuccessful 2014 attorney general candidate; and Andy Gronik, the founder and president of GroBiz, a company that advises businesses. The one name Democratic name that gets no mention is the one declared candidate: recent Stanford University physics graduate Bob Harlow. The Republican Party of Wisconsin treated Harlow’s campaign announcement as a joke.
But Harlow, on the road to a Fox Valley area campaign event, called into the Jerry Bader radio show (Harlow was listening) on March 30 to discuss his candidacy. Is it possible that the only Democrat who will step up to challenge Walker is a 25 year old candidate who lost a California congressional primary last year? If he is, Democrats will put up against Walker a young, untested candidate who can be fairly described as holding a far left ideology. From Ballotpedia:
|1. Create 35,000 jobs through record investment in Wisconsin’s infrastructure
My first priority is job-creating infrastructure investments that position Wisconsin to be the economic powerhouse of America’s future. By bringing 1 GB internet to every home, building 200 mph high speed rail that connects our region, modernizing our highways to be safer and more efficient, and by making Wisconsin 30% renewable by 2030, we will create 35,000 good paying jobs and boost economic growth in Wisconsin for decades to come.
2. Just you and your doctor, period. A healthcare plan for Wisconsin.
My healthcare plan for Wisconsin provides full coverage for every Wisconsinite at a cost that is never more than 9% of your income. At the same time, it allows you to choose any doctor or specialist in the whole state of Wisconsin for each exam or procedure. It works like this.
3. Repeal Scott Walker’s legislation that banned unionized workplaces.
4. Help Wisconsinites grow Wisconsinites grow Wisconsin ideas and research into successful businesses.
5. Immediately restore the right of public employees to bargain collectively.
6. Veto all new pipeline and mining proposals.
7. Test drinking water annually and pass legislation that gives the governor power to immediately stop polluters if contamination is detected.
8. Make sure every school in Wisconsin is funded at or above the national per-pupil average.
A Q&A Harlow did with the Stanford Daily during his congressional bid also provides some insight into his worldview:
TSD: Which specific presidencies do you see as successful?
BH: That would be from [Franklin D. Roosevelt] up through Carter. Reagan is when the country really started to go downhill. (It appears no follow-up question was asked to determine whether that answer means Harlow considers the Richard Nixon presidency successful).
TSD: What are some of the things you hope to do as Congressman?
BH: I would…stand by a 10 percent increase in the tax of Americans making more than $1 million a year in what would result in a highest marginal tax rate of 40 percent for that bracket. In the 1950s under Eisenhower, it was 91 percent. Another thing is to raise $1 billion to send 20,000 students to public colleges and universities with free tuition, room and board.(Democratic President John F. Kennedy championed lowering the 91% rate to which Harlow refers. Congress passed the Kennedy tax cut after his death, in February, 1964.)
So, is anybody taking Harlow’s candidacy seriously at this point? Jeff Simpson of the Cognitive Dissonance blog seems to be:
THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2017
By Jeff Simpson
True leaders, identify a problem and then start working to fix it. Robert Harlow did just that. Bob is a well rounded lifetime Wisconsinite, who grew up in Barneveld.In a time when no one else has stepped up to become the resistance, and challenge the far right wing control, Bob Harlow has.
Instead of recycling old all-stars, or waiting for some high priced, low result consultant to tell us who should run and how far to the right they should run, Bob Harlow has decided to take matters into his own hands, step up and work on becoming out next Governor.
I like the thought of that.
There is still time for Democrats to field a candidate and Parisi said that he believed the right one could take on Walker and beat him. But Walker campaign adviser Joe Fadness said that the lack of a declared candidate showed the governor’s “strong record of defending Wisconsin’s working families.”
Harlow is, in fact, a declared candidate.
Meanwhile, as they search for a candidate not named Bob Harlow, Wisconsin Democrats brush off the notion that it is they are floundering and instead claim it is Republicans facing a dearth of quality candidates, to challenge U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin next year.
“This reeks of Wisconsin Republicans‘ need to distract from their clown car of disastrous candidates to run for U.S. Senate,”(Brandon) Weathersby said via email. “After Rep. Sean Duffy proved to be too scared to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin, all the Republican Party is left with are three billionaires, two political opportunists, and one sore loser.”
Weathersby, of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, appears to be referring to a group of potential candidates for the Republican nomination for Senate: Eric Hovde, Dale Kooyenga, Kevin Nicholson, Nicole Schneider and Leah Vukmir. There are no billionaires in that group. Kooyenga and Vukmir are state lawmakers. Hovde and Schneider would be self-funding candidates and Nicholson is supported by Richard Uihlein, the founder of Uline company. Hovde apparently gets a double mention from Weathersby. “Sore loser” is likely a reference to Hovde’s 2012 run for Senate where he narrowly lost a four-way primary to Republican icon Tommy Thompson.
Weathersby can accurately say that no car, “clown” or otherwise, is currently filled with Democratic candidates for governor. Harlow is currently the sole occupant. Time will tell if he is behind the wheel and alone in the car on primary election day 2018.