An interview with Mike Tate
The Wisconsin recall elections in June could very well set the tone for how Democrats do the rest of the year. A successful recall of Gov. Scott Walker and a recapture of the Wisconsin State Senate could energize Democrats nationwide and foreshadow bigger gains in November.
Wisconsin Democrats certainly couldn't have predicted that they would be the epicenter of pushback against the extreme agenda of the corporate right, but they have already been successful in winning two state senate recall elections in redder districts and are poised to take advantage of the grassroots energy throughout the state to deliver more victories in the months ahead.
As you will see, the peculiarities of Wisconsin law give a major financial advantage to Walker and his allies. To help fix this imbalance, you can donate here to our Wisconsin Recall Fund.
Tell me about how you became the Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
I became chair in June of 2009. Obviously, it was a rough time. But prior to that, I had worked on different political campaigns and other progressive nonprofits for the past twelve years. I started out as a college kid helping to organize students for Democratic campaigns. I worked on a governor's race, and for a labor union. I ran a same-sex marriage initiative, and ran a large independent expenditure field program for that.
After 2008, I was looking for what was next, and it was suggested to me by some of the people who worked for then-Governor Doyle that I should run for Party Chair.
I bet you didn't expect to be at the forefront of the national debate right now.
This is not what I anticipated when I became party chair in June of '09. It's not even what we anticipated a year ago when we went through the occupation of the Capitol, the Senators leaving. It has been an incredible, exciting, stressful, but historic ride.
Where are we in this recall process?
It will likely be made official a week from Friday, but we are likely to have elections scheduled next week. The primary will will be May 8, and the general election will be June 5. What does the polling look like right now? The polling has been fairly encouraging. The last poll that was out had both County Executive Kathleen Faulk and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett leading Scott Walker. Walker continues to have a negative job approval rating, and continues to have a majority of voters pretty inclined to fire him from his current job.