State Sen. John Lehman is running for Lt. Governor. He made the announcement Monday morning at UW-Parkside.
In a statement released to Racine County Eye over the weekend, Lehman, D-Racine, said he brings a winning record and two decades of public leadership to the state’s second highest office.
“I am well-prepared for this moment by over two decades of public leadership. I have served in elected office at the local and state level in various capacities since 1988, “ he wrote. “But besides my long experience in local and state government I offer something else: I know how to win. I was the sole Democratic victor in the 2012 recalls where voter turnout, organization and inspired volunteers were key.”
Lehman told Racine County Eye Monday morning before his appearance at Parkside that he thinks Democrats have a solid chance at taking back the governor’s office next year.
“The state is divided, but I think that we can pull together to win next year because more people are seeing that Scott Walker isn’t interested in serving out another four-year term if something better comes along,” he said. “Focusing on the whole state is the key, not only talking to one side or running around the country for fundraising events.”
As for how he would get along with a Republican-controlled Legislature if there is little turnover next year, Lehman said the Democratic caucus believes the state Senate is in play, including, perhaps, for his seat in the 21st District.
“There is hope the senate will turn more in the Democrat’s favor next year,” he added. “I plan to work closely with Sen. Chris Larson to talk with folks in the district about running for the seat.”
Former Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard has already declared his candidacy to regain his seat, which he lost to Lehman in the 2012 recall election. Kenosha Republican Jonathan Steitz has also thrown his hat into the ring, which would mean a Republican primary next summer.
Democrat Mary Burke is the only person so far to officially declare their intent to run against Walker next year, and Lehman said he would serve well with her – or another candidate – to challenge the policies of the Governor Scott Walker-Kleefisch Administration.
“I am confident that I can well serve, both in a vigorous campaign—exposing the glaring failures of Walker-Kleefisch–and in a new government bringing Wisconsin back to her proud progressive roots,” he wrote.
State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, is weighing a run for governor as well, but has not made any official decision or announcement. In any case, Lehman said he is ready to throw his full support behind the Democratic ticket for the 2014 election.
“Whomever the candidate is for governor, I plan to be as supportive as possible of the Democratic ticket,” he