Self-described “progressive businessman” Andy Gronik told the Associated Press that he will be entering the race for governor today. The mostly unknown Gronik will become the first relatively serious Democratic candidate to enter the race.
It’s a thin field of possible contenders that Gronik could be facing for the Democratic nomination: Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, state Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma), Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, and state Superintendent for Public Instruction Tony Evers. Only Evers has won a statewide race, most recently getting easily re-elected in the Spring election against an underfunded and highly damaged challenger for a third term. Vinehout has registered as a candidate but has not officially declared.
If Gronik was hoping his announcement now would chase out other candidates, telling the Associated Press he would not be self-funding his campaign would not be the way to do it. “I think that self-funding political campaigns is wrong,” Gronik told the Associated Press. “I think it makes you your own special interest and that’s not where I’m coming from.”
Not only does “making you your own special interest” not make any sense, it just means the other Democrats have nothing to fear about being outspent by the unknown Gronik.
Before even entering the race, Gronik has had a rocky start. Gronik claimed the reason he did not sign the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker in 2012 is that nobody asked him to sign, despite the presence of recall petitions nearly everywhere and the availability to download a petition from the internet. Gronik also refused to tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice where he stands on Act 10 and school choice after conducting a possibly questionable poll. (A Republican complaint about the poll was dismissed, according to the Associated Press.)
Then Gronik tried ducking a question from Bice over his association with a trial lawyer with ethics issues.
The unfavorable comparisons to the last failed Democratic challenger to Walker, Trek Bicycle family member Mary Burke, have already begun. The Associated Press reminded readers, “The last Democrat who ran for governor also came from the business world and had limited political experience. Mary Burke lost to Walker by nearly 6 points in 2014.”
Bice described Gronik as, “Think of him as Mary Burke 2.0, but with less public service experience.”