More and more, I’m hearing discontent — and in some cases, downright panic — from Wisconsin progressives about who is running against Scott Walker and who is not.
After one year of historic protests, after one million signatures to recall Walker, it is still quite possible that Walker—bursting with Koch money—could win the recall election.
Especially if the Democrats don’t field their strongest candidates.
At the moment, two candidates have thrown their hats in the ring: former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk and state senator Kathleen Vinehout.
Falk would make an excellent governor: she’s smart, hard-working, progressive, and principled. Unfortunately, she’s not the greatest candidate in the world, and Walker would have a very good chance of beating her.
Vinehout is an up and comer. An inspiring and empathetic speaker, she was one of the Fab 14 who left the state to postpone action on Walker’s reactionary agenda. But she’s new statewide and would also have a tough time winning.
Then there’s Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, who says he’s “seriously considering” running. A race between Barrett and Walker would be a do-over of the 2010 race. Except Barrett ran a lackluster campaign that time around, and many progressives aren’t exactly jumping up and down for Barrett this time.
And so I’m increasingly hearing people wonder about, and wish for, Russ Feingold or Herb Kohl to enter the race.
Neither seems to want to. And both have been in public service a long time and have earned the right to step aside and enjoy being a private citizen if that’s their choice.
I don’t envy the tough spot they’re in right now. But we’re in one, too.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Santorum’s Backwardness."
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