State Representative Gordon Hintz says he plans to run Assembly Democratic leader.
In a statement, Hintz says he’s humbled by the encouragement from his fellow Democrats, and wants to be a leader who highlights the party’s values of community, fairness, and opportunity. The Oshkosh Democrat said that “as leader, I will work every day to contrast these core Democratic values with a Republican Party that has never been more unpopular than it is now.”
The announcement comes a day after current Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) announced he would step down from his leadership role at the end of this month. The decision follows Barca’s vote for an incentive package for Foxconn, which all but a handful of Democrats opposed.
Barca’s departure also comes after several election cycles that have seen Democrats continue to lose seats in the chamber under his leadership. This past January, the party returned to the Capitol with its smallest number of seats in the chamber in more than 50 years.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin released a statement criticizing Hintz as a “sleazy politician,” pointing to a 2011 sexual misconduct citation he received during a prostitution investigation at an Appleton massage parlor. “While Republicans in the Legislature have fought to protect hard-working Wisconsin taxpayers, sleazy politician Gordon Hintz has created scandal after scandal, waging a personal war on women that shows that he doesn’t have what it takes to lead anyone – even the historically small Democratic caucus,” a party spokesman said in a statement.
Assembly Republican Leader Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) pushed back on the attack though, saying on Twitter that “We need to stop this stuff, on both sides,” while vowing to work with whoever Assembly Democrats elect as their next leader.