Dear xxx,Eight years ago I decided to run for the open position of chair for the Dane Dems after serving some years on the Executive Board – including as vice-chair of campaigns. In November of 2011, you put your trust in me to build a party to resist then-Governor Scott Walker as he dropped one bomb after another to radically change Wisconsin to something we didn’t recognize.

We set to work in 2011 to build a county party that expanded its efforts to fight all elections in every square inch in Dane County. And it was a top priority for me to reach out throughout our county to bring people who weren’t part of our party into leadership to improve our party. We worked on this by empowering groups throughout Dane County with their ideas to reach more voters and encourage younger leaders and a more diverse leadership to try new ideas with which they approached us. With your help and work we were able to do the following:

  • We were able to achieve gender parity in our Executive Committee during each of my terms as chair.
  • We were able to elevate people of color to leadership positions in the party.
  • We were able in 2016 to give our presidential candidate Hillary Clinton the largest vote total and the largest margin of victory in Dane County history.
  • We supported candidates of color to achieve the highest racial diversity of the Dane County Board and Madison Common Council. And we helped candidates of color run and win in Stoughton, Verona and Sun Prairie.
  • Between 2010 and 2018, the population of Dane County grew 11%. Between the 2010 and 2018 elections, we had an increase of vote total by 33.75% for our gubernatorial candidate. That meant an increase of 70,353 votes for our Democratic candidate and an increase of 6.74% margin between our candidate and the Repulican candidate.
  • We supported women running for Dane County Board and for other offices in Dane County. In 2010, there were 12 women serving out of 37. Today there are 19 – the first ever majority of women on the Dane County Board. In Verona, there were 0 women serving out of 8 council members. Today, there are 6. In Sun Prairie, there was 1 woman serving out of 8 council members. Today, there are 4. In Stoughton, there were 0 women serving out of 12 council members. Today there are 3. In Madison, there were 7 women serving out of 20 members. Today there are 9.
  • We supported women running for Madison Metropolitan School Board, and in this spring’s election we helped elect candidates that made a School Board of all women. Today, six of the seven MMSD members are women and four of the seven are people of color.

And we now have a consistent membership of 1,000-1,300 at any given time – hundreds more of consistent numbers than we had when I started serving as chair. I’m very proud of what we were able to do to build our capacity so that we could fight harder in every election – be it spring or fall, odd or even year and special elections. We’ve built a strong bench of elected officials throughout this county!I am so very proud of what we have been able to do together. And I know that this county party is now in a strong place to build on our successes to help take Wisconsin back in next year’s election and give our great state’s electoral votes to the candidate who will replace the awful presidency we are all suffering under.

I believe it is time, after running the Dane Dems for eight years, to turn this party over to new leadership. It is with this in mind that I am writing you today to announce that I will not be seeking re-election for Chair in the leadership elections this November. I’m writing you now so that party members have ample time to consider seeking this and other leadership positions in the party.

We have a ton of political talent in Dane County that can run with what we’ve developed into something fantastic for the future. If you are considering running for Dane Dems leadership, please understand that these are the features I’m looking for in our next chair:

  1. Be willing to greatly invest your time in leading the party and be prepared to work hard. I’ve always said “A successful chair is a working chair.” That means being prepared to help campaigns and organizing efforts, put on good walking shoes and knock on some doors.
  2. Understand that organizing is the path to all victories. It’s very hard work. There are no magic shortcuts that replace organizing.
  3. Be inclusive. If there’s one thing I’ve always known it’s that our party is the strongest when we reach out as far as possible. Commit to finding as many people as possible from as many places as possible who are willing to fight under our banner and support their participation in the party.

If you embody these things, you will be a fantastic leader for our county party and continue our successes as we fight the “most important election in our time” every time there’s an election. I will be cheering you on from the sidelines as you do it.

So keep the faith and keep up the fight! Thanks to what we’ve done together, our best days for this party and for the state and country we love are ahead of us. From the bottom of my heart I thank you all.



Reminder that our annual picnic is coming up Sunday, and you’re invited!

The party will provide meat and veggie options from the grill, side dishes, and beverages. Please bring a non-perishable item to support the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a $5 contribution to help cover costs, and your favorite dessert to share.

Homemade desserts will be entered into a contest, with the best one, judged by attendees, winning a prize.

We’ll also hear from several of our great party leaders, including:

  • Ben Wikler, new chair of the DPW, will fill us in on his goals for the upcoming election year and beyond.
  • Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway will talk about her first 100 days in office.
  • Rep. Mark Pocan will provide an update from Capitol Hill.

Feel free to bring lawn games and your kids!

  • When: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday, July 28
  • Where: Brittingham Park, 829 W. Washington Ave., Madison
  • Needed Mt. Zion Baptist Church food pantry items: Oatmeal, grits, cornmeal, cereal, dry beans, Spam, Hamburger Helper meals, ramen noodles, soap, canned tuna, pasta.
  • Questions: Dorrie Sundquist, 608-332-5336

Debate watch parties. Note the change in start times — doors at 6:30 p.m., debate at 7 p.m.

COME JOIN US AT CAFE HOLLANDER, HILLDALE MALL — in the Beer Room — as we watch two nights of the July 30-31 Democratic presidential debates! Doors at 6:30 and debate at 7 each evening.


Meet and greet your fellow Dems, local activists, organizations, and campaign teams. Plenty of parking. Food and drinks available.


Save the date for our August membership meeting, which will address running for office and supporting local candidates. We’ll hear from Verona Mayor Luke Diaz, Emerge Executive Director Erin Forrest, County Supervisor Yogesh Chawla, and MMSD Board Member Ali Muldrow.

  • When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14
  • Where: Concourse Hotel, 1 W. Dayton St., Madison

Thanks for all you do,
Democratic Party of Dane County

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