Laning won’t seek re-election as Dem state chair

Fresh off Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s convincing re-election bid and Dems sweeping the state’s constitutional offices for the first time in three decades, state Chair Martha Laning announced today she will not seek re-election at the party’s convention in June.

Laning, who first won the office in 2015, touted the party’s efforts to build its infrastructure during her time in office, saying it put together an “unprecedented year-round, every-year organizing program to empower activists” and turn out Dems.

“These victories didn’t happen by accident,” Laning said.

Laning also pointed to the party’s fundraising to support those plans. The party raised more than $6.7 million through its state accounts in 2018, compared to about $3.7 million in 2016, the first election year a GOP re-write of campaign finance laws allowed unlimited donations to political parties as well as corporate contributions.

Coming off a failed 2014 bid for state Senate, Laning won a four-way race for chair at the party’s 2015 state convention, beating DNC member Jason Rae, former state Rep. Stephen Smith and former state Chair Jone Wineke. Then-former Rep. Jeff Smith initially got into the race, but dropped out a day before the vote and urged his backers to support Laning.

She then won re-election in 2017 with 52 percent of the vote in a four-way race.

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