MADISON, Wis. — In a story Aug. 28 about the Wisconsin governor's race, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate was supporting former Trek executive and potential gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. Tate has not chosen a candidate to support, nor has the party.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Wis. Dem chair says Burke would lead gov primary
Wis. Democratic Party chairman says Burke would be 'front-runner' in gubernatorial primary
By TODD RICHMOND
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Democratic Party's chairman said Wednesday that former Trek executive and potential gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke would be the clear front-runner in a party primary if she chose to run, but he stopped short of declaring his support for her or any other candidate.
Burke, Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout all are mulling whether to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker next year. None have committed yet. Vinehout has said she'll make her decision next year. Harris said he plans to decide by Labor Day and could make an announcement as early as Friday.
Many see Burke as the most viable candidate because she can use her personal wealth to fuel her campaign and combat Walker's fundraising prowess. The governor reported raising $3.5 million in the first half of this year and had $2.2 million in the bank.
Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said during a conference call with reporters that Burke likely had the best shot at coming out of a primary with the party's nomination.
"What's become apparently clear to me, should Mary Burke decide to do this, she would be the instant front-runner and be very competitive against the governor," Tate said.
He also hinted party leaders don't want to see a primary, noting that a three-way Democratic primary during last year's push to recall Walker weakened survivor Tom Barrett. Walker handily defeated the Milwaukee mayor to keep his job.
Harris said Tate has clearly chosen his candidate, but Harris is "perfectly fine with that."
He understands a primary would limit the eventual nominee's fundraising ability, but all three candidates aren't well-known and could benefit from the publicity, he said.
"All along I've been weighing ... whether this (entering the race) would benefit or harm the Democrats' chances to beat Scott Walker," Harris told The Associated Press in an interview. "This is the most difficult decision of my life so far."
Tate did not declare his personal support for Burke during the call or say the party would back one candidate over the others in a primary.
Vinehout didn't immediately return a message. A Burke spokesman declined to comment.
Wisconsin Republican Party Executive Joe Fadness issued a statement saying Democratic party bosses are rallying around Burke as expected. He called her a liberal activist.