As the governor’s race starts to heat up, Our Wisconsin Revolution has offered their followers a chance to participate in a pre-voting process to narrow the field of twelve Democratic candidates they include on their site to find a “People’s Champion.” However, OWR’s ability to meaningfully impact elections is questionable, at best, after its foray into the Wisconsin Supreme Court race February primary.
In an email to supporters, OWR announced that it, along with the Wisconsin Working Families Party, created the “Wisconsin’s Choice campaign,” in which followers can vote to narrow down the immense field of democratic candidates to choose one to endorse. The email reads:
“We are fed up with politicians who consistently sell out working people and their families. We have the opportunity for massive change this year. But in the crowded field of candidates, we need to know which candidates will fight for us and lead Wisconsin to a brighter future.”
“This process is not just an internet vote or popularity contest. Electing a people’s champ will require all of us to roll up our sleeves and put in the work to take back Wisconsin. Over the next months, we’ll push the candidates — and do the work needed to find the real People’s Champion. We’ll host forums, knock doors in our communities, and talk to our neighbors about the issues that are most important to us. Maybe we’ll even have a house party or two!”
On the Wisconsin Choice campaign site, they stress that they want to choose and endorse a candidate that represents the people. Yet, as the three voting rounds progress, there becomes requirements that residents need to complete before being able to vote. While joining the Wisconsin’s choice list is the only requirement to vote in round one, to vote in the second round WC requires that residents commit, “to take at least one action on behalf of one of the final four candidates OR for the Wisconsin’s Choice campaign,” and to vote in the final round one must, “commit to volunteering 10 hours on behalf of People’s Champ during either GOTV or the general election. If no endorsement is reached, commitment is for hours to be transferred to general election if any of the WC final four win primary.” The site includes brief videos and links to twelve possible candidates, with the first round of voting narrowing the field to nine. But just how important is OWR’s endorsement?
Last November OWR touted it’s “first state-wide endorsement,” of Tim Burns for Wisconsin Supreme Court. In the press release Sarah Lloyd, OWR Co-Chair stated:
“Our members know Tim will bring an experienced, authentic voice of reason to the Supreme Court, a voice that sides with the people of this state. We are eager to mobilize 6,000 members across the state in support of Tim through the Primary and General Election in April.”
Despite the endorsement, Burns didn’t make it past the February primary, only garnering 18% of the statewide vote.