Democrats in Wisconsin gathered on June 2-3 in Middleton for the annual state Democratic Convention. Over 1,000 attendees met to hear from the state’s Democratic leaders.
The convention focused on recovering from Democratic losses in the 2016 election and energizing supporters for the upcoming races in 2018, including elections for governor and for incumbent U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s seat. The unifying message among speakers was anti-Trump and hopeful for more Democratic success in 2018.
Attendees also voted at the convention to re-elect party chair Martha Laning. Laning won the four-way race with 52 percent of the vote. Glendale mayor Bryan Kennedy was runner-up with 41 percent of the vote.
A straw poll conducted by WisPolitics showed that state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) was the favorite of delegates to run against Gov. Scott Walker in the 2018 gubernatorial election. Vinehout received 38 percent of votes in the straw poll, followed by state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) at 31 percent. Bob Harlow, the only announced candidate for governor so far, received less than one percent of the vote.
Speakers at the event included U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, U.S. Reps. Marc Pocan (D-Madison), Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) and Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee), Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, state Sens. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) and Janet Bewley (D-Ashland), Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and Wisconsin Supreme Court candidates Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet and Madison attorney Tim Burns.
Wisconsin Republicans held their convention in May.