With a crowded field and no clear front-runner, Wisconsin’s Democrat gubernatorial primary is getting ugly fast as candidates fight it out to prove who is the most extreme, far-left choice for voters this November. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Democrats are “turning on each other to distance themselves from the pack” noting that candidates “have largely stayed away from criticizing each other publicly — until now.”
While Paul Soglin has questioned union boss Mahlon Mitchell’s liberal bona fides, former Wisconsin Democrat Party Chair Matt Flynn targeted Tony Evers for using “divide-and-conquer tactics” against unions. The intra-party attacks have raised concerns from state Democrat leaders, including Congressman Mark Pocan, who warned that they could be “disastrous” for the Democrats’ efforts in November.
As Mitchell, Soglin, Evers, Flynn and other Democrat candidates fight amongst each other to prove who is the most far-left candidate to lead their party this November, they continue to show how out-of-touch they are with the people of Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
“With fewer than two months before an election that will determine who will challenge Gov. Scott Walker in his bid for a third term, some candidates vying for that spot are turning on each other to distance themselves from the pack.
Most of the 10 Democratic candidates seeking to advance in an Aug. 14 primary election have largely stayed away from criticizing each other publicly — until now.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and state firefighters union chief Mahlon Mitchell, who also is a Madison firefighter, brought their bargaining table combat into public view Monday during a candidate forum in Milwaukee.
There, Soglin singled out Mitchell by criticizing Mitchell’s support of Uber and of proposed tax incentives for a Fox Valley paper company considering cutting hundreds of jobs, and by telling the audience that in 2011 Mitchell “wrote a suck up letter” to Gov. Scott Walker after the new governor released legislation known as Act 10, which effectively eliminated collective bargaining for most public workers but exempted firefighters.
‘No thank you,’ Soglin said about Mitchell.
Mitchell initially praised Walker for exempting firefighters from the law but within a couple weeks shifted course by leading marches, camping out with protesters, and suggesting firefighters take the same concessions other public workers would be subjected to by the law.
Mitchell said Monday that Soglin was issuing ‘crazy accusations,’ and argued the longtime mayor is threatened by Mitchell’s base of support.
‘If you look at the history of what happened with Act 10 we were there everyday and I was speaking on behalf of firefighters who were exempt from Act 10 — I think everybody here remembers that,’ Mitchell said. ‘Yeah, you came out early — you had nothing to lose, you weren’t mayor. So let’s stop saying that.’
Meanwhile on Friday, Mitchell said the race had reached ‘a new low’ in a Facebook post after opponent Kelda Roys, a former state assemblywoman, sent a fundraising email referencing a Republican website aimed at criticizing the Democratic candidates.
In the email, Roys argued she was the best candidate to get behind because the others had a ‘clear message against them.’ Roys called herself the one candidate in the field who has a “background free from scandal.”
Mitchell interpreted her comment to mean Mitchell’s union affiliation was scandalous because the Republican website Roys used to make her argument calls Mitchell a ‘union boss.’
‘It shows how far some in this race will go to win — but not me,’ Mitchell wrote. ‘I guess my opponent thinks unions are scandalous. I don’t. But as Michelle Obama said, when they go low, we go high.’…
Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said he would act as a ‘peacemaker’ if any infighting arose among the Democratic field.
On Tuesday, Pocan said policy differences are ‘fair game’ but advised the candidates to be careful not to engage in ‘whisper campaigns’ or attacking other candidates personally.
‘Generally when you go negative it means one, you’re not winning and two, it means you’re likely not going to win,’ Pocan said. ‘People gotta be careful because at some point you go too far and people like myself will call them out and I think that will be disastrous for their campaigns.’”