Republican State Representative Thomas Weatherston has taken heavy fire from Milwaukee conservative talk radio hosts for seemingly endorsing Democratic candidate Cory Mason over conservative candidate Sandy Weidner in the Racine Mayoral race. Along with his reported endorsement, Representative Barca and the Working Families party also wrote in support of Mason. Weatherston’s apparent act of support confused local Racine conservatives, although after reaching out to his office, Media Trackers was told this was all just a big “misunderstanding,” the same defense previously offered.
Recently the Journal Times reported that Rep. Weatherston endorsed Representative Cory Mason who won the election for Racine’s mayor against Alderwoman Sandy Weidner, after the previous mayor John Dickert stepped down in March. Weatherston supported Mason in an article in the Journal Times:
“Mason puts the needs of the entire greater Racine area first at the Capitol. I know that Rep. Mason will build on that work by establishing strong regional relationships and partnering with surrounding towns and villages.”
Representative Barca also spoke of his support of Mason in the article:
“Cory is a true progressive and always fights hard for his values and his community. I have been proud to work alongside Mason on economic development and job creation legislation. Rep. Mason has proven himself to be an effective and insightful advocate for families and workers.”
Along with the two representative’s public endorsement of Mason, Wisconsin’s “Working Families Party” also showed their support for the candidate. The party describes itself as an independent political organization that “fights for Wisconsin’s working families 365 days a year — working to raise the minimum wage, get big money out of politics, and advocate for racial justice.” In their endorsement of Mason on Wispolitics,com, the executive director of Wisconsin Working Families Marina Dimitrijevic spoke highly of Mason:
“Cory Mason has the experience and progressive vision to move Racine forward. His advocacy for higher wages for city workers and contractors, his support for public education, and his innovative ideas about job creation, including green jobs, resonated with voters. By endorsing Cory, Working Families Party signaled to our members and partners that he is the working families champion.”
However, in the Wisconsin’s Working Families party bio they also clearly oppose Governor Scott Walker, all republicans, and what they call “corporate” democrats:
In Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, too many working families are falling behind. Politicians beholden to big money are pushing down wages and eliminating jobs — all while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Scott Walker clearly answers to the demands of his billionaire donors, like the Koch Brothers. But the truth is, too many Democrats are silent or are too timid when it comes time to really fight for working families.
With Wisconsin’s Working Families party and Representative Barca showing support of Mason, Weatherston’s alignment with them seems questionable. Local republicans to Racine and radio talk show hosts Mark Belling and Dan O’Donnell all voiced their opinions on Rep. Weatherston’s actions. Belling on his show criticized Weatherston heavily and also pointed to some deeper flaws he sees with the Republican party:
“There are a lot of republicans down in the Racine area that wonder what in the hell Tom Weatherston is doing selling out those conservatives who do live in the Racine area by backing the lefty for the mayor of Racine…”
“…It’s another instance I think, of a lot of republican members in the state legislature that are right now no longer listening to their constituents.”
O’Donnell also discussed Weatherston and his support of Mason in his show:
“How could Weatherston endorse him over a conservative like Sandy Weidner?”
“We have a lot of listeners in Racine, I think you know what sort of leader that you want in Racine and it sure as heck is not someone like Cory Mason. Despite, and what I will refer to him as the RINO, and I don’t use this term very often, Republican in name only Tom Weatherston, would have you believe.”
Both talk show hosts were told by Weatherston’s staffer Keith Best that this was a misunderstanding. Media Trackers also reached out to Weatherston’s office for comment, and Keith Best again defended Weatherston and blamed the original article for twisting the story:
“This was just a misunderstanding. Rep. Weatherston did NOT endorse Mason. He doesn’t agree with Mason on anything. (Except on the vote for Foxconn) He did tell the local paper that he thought Mason would be better for the suburbs than Weidner, which is his opinion, and the paper had a headline that he endorsed along with Rep. Peter Barca. The paper was wrong. This is a non-story.Rep. Weatherston has a 100% conservative voting record in the State Assembly.”
Media Trackers also asked Best if Weatherston ever publicly supported Sandy Weidner, or if they could see how others would interpret his support as an endorsement. As of Monday morning, they have yet to respond.