Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett today announced he will not run for guv this year, saying he loves his current job and “that’s where my heart is.”
Barrett’s statement puts to rest six weeks of public speculation on whether he would make another bid for the guv’s office. While Dem guv candidates have struggled to break away from the crowded field financially, Barrett had $621,983 in his campaign account at the end of 2017, more than twice what any of the top-tier contenders had in the bank to end the year.
Still, Barrett, 64, had done nothing publicly to lay a foundation for a run ahead of today’s announcement, which comes three days before candidates have to turn in at least 2,000 valid signatures to make the ballot. He also has faced questions on whether he could beat Gov. Scott Walker in the general election after losing to him in 2010 and the 2012 recall.
“I hope to serve as mayor for many years to come, to continue to advance Milwaukee forward,” Barrett said. “I’ve still got the fire in the belly, and I wake up every day ready to roll up my sleeves to get to work.”
Barrett, who would be up for re-election as mayor in 2020, had expressed concern over whether the current field is strong enough to beat Walker and would like to see a stronger ally for Milwaukee in the guv’s office, according to multiple sources.
“Milwaukee has tremendous momentum despite efforts by Governor Walker and his allies to harm the city,” Barrett said. “Now is the time for change in Madison. Now is the time for a new governor. I’ll fight shoulder to shoulder with you to make that happen. I’ve got your back, and I know you’ve got mine.”