The Democrats have yet another second-tier candidate for governor. Firefighter union leader Mahlon Mitchell announced today his candidacy at Al’s Hamburger Shop in Green Bay.
Using class warfare rhetoric, Mitchell promised to raise the minimum wage to a level above $50,000 per year. “Let’s do what Scott Walker won’t do,” Mitchell said. “Let’s raise the minimum wage. There’s something wrong when the majority of Wisconsinites have to get paid and make it by on $50,000 per year when the top one percent make $933,000 a year on average.”
Mitchell also called for accepting the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare even though Wisconsin has no coverage gap according to the Kaiser Foundation and the expansion would be an actual net loss to Wisconsin taxpayers of $694.5 million.
In his speech, Mitchell did not mention Act 10, the law that curbed collective bargaining power for public employee unions that caused Mitchell to rise to prominence as a protester. (Ironically, firefighters are exempt from the provisions of Act 10.) Since the law was enacted, Wisconsin has saved over $5 billion.
Mitchell rode the anti-Act 10 wave in 2012 to become the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in the recall election. Unlike other elections, voters were allowed to vote for governor and lieutenant governor separately. Mitchell was handily defeated in election by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch who received 52.9 percent to Mitchell’s 47.1 percent.
Mitchell joins state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma), state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), former Democratic state party chairman Matt Flynn, former executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Mike McCabe, and businessman Andy Gronik. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is expected to make an announcement early in 2018. Former state Rep. Helen Kelda Roys (D-Madison) and failed Democratic candidate for Attorney General Susan Happ (D-Jefferson) are also said to be considering running for governor.
Governor Scott Walker announced his candidacy for re-election on Sunday, November 5 in Waukesha. If elected, he would be elected to a third four-year term and would be the fourth election for governor for Walker counting the recall election of 2012.