Mitchell lat­est to chal­lenge Walker

Fire­fighter union leader joins 6 oth­ers in Demo­cratic field

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - NEWS - Ja­son Stein

MADI­SON – Fire­fighter union head Mahlon Mitchell an­nounced his run for gov­er­nor Mon­day, join­ing a field of Democrats that is be­gin­ning to look nearly as crowded as last year’s GOP pres­i­den­tial pri­mary.

Mitchell, the pres­i­dent of Pro­fes­sional Fire Fighters of Wis­con­sin, kicked off his cam­paign with a spin through Green Bay, Milwaukee and Madi­son.

It’s the sec­ond statewide cam­paign for Mitchell, who lost the 2012 re­call race against GOP Lt. Gov. Re­becca Kleefisch.

In a tweet, Mitchell said that a vic­tory next year would give Scott Walker 12 years in of­fice.

“He’s al­ready had eight years in of­fice, and he’s failed us, the peo­ple of Wis­con­sin!” Mitchell said.

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of MIlwaukee im­me­di­ately threw her sup­port be­hind Mitchell Mon­day in a state­ment ad­dressed to him.

“As I sur­vey the field form­ing, I am even more im­pressed with your cog­ni­tive and emo­tional in­tel­li­gence, your statewide lead­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence, your pub­lic pol­icy acu­men and ser­vice,” Moore said in the state­ment to Mitchell.

State Repub­li­can Party spokesman Alec Zimmerman said that Mitchell had al­ready been re­jected once by Wis­con­sin vot­ers dur­ing the re­call.

“Union boss Mahlon Mitchell went to ex­treme lengths to pro­tect big gov­ern­ment special in­ter­ests dur­ing the re­call,” Zimmerman said. “Af­ter be­ing re­jected by vot­ers be­fore, Mitchell is dou­bling down on the failed poli­cies of yes­ter­day.”

The op­po­si­tion of Mitchell and other pro­fes­sional fire­fight­ers in the state was no­table dur­ing the re­call be­cause fire­fight­ers were ex­empt from Walker’s 2011 re­peal of most col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing for pub­lic work­ers, which sparked the re­call elec­tion.

One ex­cep­tion was fire­fight­ers in Milwaukee, who have backed Walker.

Mitchell be­came a fre­quent speaker at la­bor protests in those years, tak­ing him from a near un­known to a fa­mil­iar fig­ure at Demo­cratic ral­lies.

A Madi­son fire­fighter, Mahlon was born in Milwaukee, grew up in Dela­van like Walker, and lives with his wife and two chil­dren in Fitch­burg.

It won’t be easy for groups look­ing to or­ga­nize can­di­date fo­rums and de­bates in the Demo­cratic pri­mary.

The field of Democrats run­ning for gov­er­nor now in­cludes state schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Tony Evers; Milwaukee busi­ness­man Andy Gronik; state Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire; Sen. Kathleen Vine­hout of Alma; for­mer state Demo­cratic Party chair­man Matthew Flynn; and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist Mike McCabe.

The Demo­cratic pri­mary could still get more crowded. Other po­ten­tial can­di­dates in­clude for­mer state Rep. Kelda He­len Roys of Madi­son and Madi­son Mayor Paul Soglin.


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