Burns Got No Lift From the “Revolution”


Last fall, Madison attorney Tim Burns sought and secured an endorsement from the far left group Our Wisconsin Revolution for his candidacy in the Wisconsin Supreme Court primary. Comprised largely of the remnants of the failed Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, the group touts lists of activists and supporters online, but the results of the most recent primary shows their endorsement wasn’t the boost Burns hoped it would be.

Burns sought the OWR endorsement  in November, as an email from the group stated. The far left group has criticized President Trump and Governor Walker on their website, and their platform includes things such as:

  • Transition to “free” (publicly funded) tuition for all UW and Technical colleges and universities
  • Recognize housing as a human right and adopt and implement a plan to realize that right for all residents
  • Widen the sales tax base to include all goods and services outside food, education, and healthcare; make it progressive by raising it steeply on purchases more than twice the median state family income
  • … work toward  single-payer public system of health care  in Wisconsin and nationally.

On their website they also tout that they have been shared a “list of 100,000+ Wisconsin activists and supporters” from the former Our Revolution group and that, “there’s no other organization in Wisconsin with this ambition, governance structure, and focus.” Although Burns did secure the endorsement, he did not pass the primary election test, being overtaken by Judge Rebecca Dallet and Judge Michael Screnock, suggesting, among other things,  that experience is more important than political fervor. In fact, Burns finished a distant third.

Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel made note of the endorsement’s ineffectiveness in his “five takeaways from Wisconsin’s primary election,” including losing to Dallet on his home turf:

“The group, which calls itself a “people-powered, member-driven organization,” said it would organize its 6,000 supporters to help out Burns, citing his “authentic voice of reason.” Burns won only Ashland and Bayfield counties on Tuesday. He lost his home of Dane County to Dallet by more than 20 percentage points.”

When Media Trackers reported on Burns’ hunt for the OWR endorsement, he took to Twitter in a flurry of liberal talking points:

Securing the OWR endorsement appeared to be one element in an overall Burns strategy of winning the primary by dominating with liberal base vote. Neither the endorsement nor putting a D behind his name in television commercials letting voters know he is a Democrat yielded the result Burns was seeking. That result may challenge the conventional wisdom that Wisconsin will be washed over by a blue tsunami in November due to a large enthusiasm gap.