The Negatives Tom Barrett must deal with if he runs for Governor of Wisconsin


Tom Barrett (D-WI)

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Saturday had a report published of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Sunday making a  announcement on his run for Governor, here are some of the negatives he is going to have to deal with if he runs.

First, Barrett is going to have to sell his candidacy to a Democratic Party that is starting to see its coalitions in the process of fracturing because of the planned MPS Mayoral takeover.  Barrett is starting to deal with the insurgent special interests in his own party who are opposed to the takeover.  This is noted by the NAACP which has been very vocal over the Mayoral takeover.  Also, 16 different groups are opposed to the MPS takeover including teachers unions and advocacy groups have been united with the NAACP  in its opposition.

Second, he will have to defend his stance on the recent City of Milwaukee budget in which he attempted to cut public safety services in a lean economy.  The City Council recently restored some public safety positions the Mayor proposed to cut.  When the North Shore Exponent was at the public hearing held for the City of Milwaukee budget in October, many firefighters said during their testimonies that they have not had a good working relationship with the Mayor.  Also, many Police officers in Milwaukee were outraged about the furlough days that were in the budget.  Currently, the bargaining unit that represents the Milwaukee Police has litigation pending against the Mayor over the proposal. Mayor Barrett’s actions with the budget would not sit well with the platforms of organizations like the Milwaukee Police Association and the Wisconsin Professional Police Association.    The MPA has endorsed Walker in the past and they would more than likely the MPA and related organizations will not give Barrett their endorsements in 2010.

Third, Barrett will have to face with the possibility of Wisconsin Democrat Party Chairman Mike Tate being a big liability to his campaign.   The people of Wisconsin have seen it already with Chairman Tate engaging in dirty and deceptive messagingA perfect example is when the youngest state party chairman in the nation this year used racial slurs directed towards pro-taxpayer groups in a campaign fund-raising e-mail. With how pro-taxpayer groups in Wisconsin are organized and fired up for the 2010 elections, there could be the possibility of the seeing Chairman Tate committing the same thing again down the road.  Barrett may have to deal with competing egos in the party in which would disrupt his campaign’s message.

Mike Tate

Mike Tate-WI State Dem Chairman

Fourth, he will have to defend the failed Obama stimulus for Wisconsin.   With Wisconsin losing so many private sector jobs he will have a very difficult time convincing voters that his party’s plan to boost the economy is the way to go.  People also know that Barrett and Doyle have had a good working relationship, however if he defends Doyle’s handling of the failed stimulus many independent voters can connect Barrett easy to the outgoing Governor.  A prime example is a recent SurveyUSA poll in which nearly 70 percent of independent voters disapprove of Doyle’s job performance. Two weeks ago in Virginia and New Jersey, independent voters voted in packs against the Democrats.  The factor of the stimulus and how independent voters are not pleased with the progress could be a very difficult factor for Mayor Barrett to deal with.

These four factors are going to be a reason why Tom Barrett will have some very difficult terrain to work with.    No matter how much money the DNC and the DGA throws in the race for Barrett, the Milwaukee Mayor will have to deal with the insurgencies in his own party.  The insurgents that have not been enthused with his key policy initiatives as Mayor of Milwaukee and trying to move these initiatives to the statewide level if he is elected Governor.


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