Falk Announces Run For Governor

Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk told supporters on Wednesday morning that she’s running for governor if a recall election of Gov. Scott Walker happens later this year.

The announcement was delivered to supporters in a two-minute Web video posted at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. She called the recall effort targeting Walker an “unprecedented and inspiring show of solidarity and determination.” She said she will make different choices than Walker to focus on creating good-paying jobs, a clean environment, successful schools and affordable health care.

“People have encouraged me from all across the state to run,” Falk said.

Falk said that when she stepped down as Dane County executive, she didn’t plan on running for governor.

“What I said then was the truth, was that I didn’t know what that next big chapter for me would be. Would I have one more challenging job in me? And I needed to go find it. And who would have guessed that Scott Walker would do to the state what he did,” Falk said.

The announcement comes a day after recall supporters turned in more than 1 million signatures to the Government Accountability Board to try to force a recall of Walker.

A source close to Falk told Politico that she wants to waste no time because she thinks it might be a very short race for the Democratic nomination.

Falk has officially entered the Democratic field for governor, but she won’t be the only one.

State Sen. Tim Cullen said he intends to run. He said a primary would be good for the process.

“I think it’s probably the only way to really assure the people of Wisconsin that they are picking the nominee. If you don’t have a primary, it raises the obvious question of who chose the candidate,” Cullen said.

Other people discussed as possible candidates in a Democratic primary for governor include former Rep. David Obey, state Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett is running for re-election for mayor in April, but Falk’s announcement may force him to make a decision soon on governor.

Erpenbach said his decision on whether to run won’t be just based on his own chances.

“I’m definitely interested in the job, and I’m interested in running and I think I could do a really good job. That being said, my biggest concern is who is in the best position to beat Gov. Walker. I’d like to think I am, but I also know I bring some negatives as well,” Erpenbach said.

Walker’s campaign communications director Ciara Matthews issued a statement on Wednesday blasting Falk, likening her record as falling “in lockstep with a Madison liberal ideology” and highlighting her previous losses at statewide office.

“Kathleen Falk’s announcement today comes as no surprise, as we have long anticipated she would be the nominee hand-picked by big-government, public employee union bosses. Falk has already lost two statewide elections, failing to earn the trust of Wisconsin voters,” Matthews said in the statement.

As for the role that unions may play in the process, many of the state employee unions have been meeting with candidates, and a spokesman told WisPolitics that they plan to make their own endorsements in the coming months.