Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has ended the speculation, announcing his candidacy to succeed Governor Jim Doyle. “I’m running because I love my family, I love this state, and I’m concerned about its future,” Barrett said Sunday.
Barrett concedes it’s a tough time to be a candidate. “I think people are unhappy with government at all levels. I think people recognize that the problems that we have in this state, in this nation, didn’t begin in January, they didn’t begin four years ago, they didn’t begin eight years ago. These are problems that have building, literally for decades. And I think what people want now, is they want us to work together and not have partisan solutions, and that’s what I’m committed to.”
Pressure from the White House has been rumored for weeks, but Barrett discounted that. “My decision, as you know it took some time to make this decision, it was influenced really by what’s right for my family,” said Barrett, who added that while he hasn’t been “campaigning for governor for the last three or for years,” he’s confident he can get his message out in the next twelve months. Barrett, who was injured in a scuffle with a man outside State Fair Park in August, also said he needed time to heal.
Barrett spoke about the reaction of his kids to his decision to enter the race. “The only thing they asked is what changes . . . how it would impact them. I said that it meant that they were going to have to do more chores around the house, they said forget it, then, but we took a re-vote and they agreed to support it then. But it was really a family decision.”
This will not be 55 year-old Barrett’s first run for governor. Barrett served as a congressman representing Wisconsin’s 5th District for ten years, from 1993 to 2003. He elected to run for governor after redistricting would have forced him to run in a primary against another Democrat, congressman Jerry Kleczka. He campaigned for his party’s nomination in 2002, and lost narrowly to Doyle in the primary.
At this point, Barrett is the lone Democrat in the race. The two major Republican contenders are Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, and Wauwatosa County businessman and former congressman, Mark Neaumann.