Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says he is “getting prepared” to make a run for governor in 2018, and he plans to make a final decision in July or August.
Soglin said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com, that the reaction has been mixed since the news service first reported during the state Dem convention that he was considering a bid.
“There’s those who have been very enthusiastic, sending in notes, stopping me when I am out walking around, and saying ‘This is really exciting, we hope you do it,'” Soglin said.
But he said others question his age, which is 72, or talk about how he gave the key to the city to Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1975.
“The point is those are negatives that really translate into people who just don’t like my politics. It’s not really going to be an issue that an election is decided upon,” Soglin said.
He also said private polling has shown his age isn’t a concern for most voters.
“It doesn’t make a difference. And particularly, we’ve got two other pieces of evidence. First, what happened with Bernie Sanders in the state, where clearly age was not a detriment, and secondly, if you look at the biggest cadre of voters, those who are, say, over the age of 50, that doesn’t play well with them,” Soglin said.
Gousha asked Soglin how he would fund a campaign, given that Gov. Scott Walker, who has not yet formally announced he’s seeking re-election, has a deep donor list compiled through three gubernatorial races since 2010, and one presidential campaign.
Soglin said Sanders showed a grassroots effort to raise small amounts of money over the Internet can fund a vibrant campaign.
“I would guess that Gov. Walker is going to raise $30 million. I have no illusions that we are going to get past fifteen or $20 million. But I think if we hit that amount, there will be a vibrant campaign throughout the state, and in areas where I am not particularly popular, it’s not going to be a crushing defeat. We’re going to be able to run 45, 47 percent, and then hopefully, things will turn out with a solid majority,” he said.
“I’m getting prepared for this,” Soglin said.
Also on the program, Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, discussed his resolution for Wisconsin to join other states in a call for a constitutional convention to pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Kapenga said he and other supporters of the resolution are very concerned about the U.S. debt, seeing little promise the debt level is going to be fixed.
“Congress and the president will not get this done. We see the inability for them to work together,” Kapenga said. “There’s no plan even proposed for how to start attacking our debt, much less the deficit.”
The state Assembly passed the constitutional convention resolution last week. The resolution goes to the state Senate next.
Kapenga said he is working to address concerns individual senators have about a constitutional convention, and he hopes for a successful vote on the resolution in the fall.
With state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman’s announcement that he won’t seek re-election, WisPolitics.com Editor JR Ross told “UpFront” viewers that more candidates now will consider getting into the 2018 race.
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