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Tuesday, January 27, 2015  |   Madison, WI: 25.0° F  
CITIZEN DAVE: Thoughts and ideas about city building from Madison's former mayor
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Citizen Dave: Why not Tony Evers for governor?
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Tony Evers
Tony Evers
Credit:Tony Evers for State Superintendent

Those who have been close observers of Wisconsin politics may have already picked up on the idea that the Republicans have settled early on their candidate for governor in the next election. Fellow's name is Scott Walker.

And my party? Anyone?

The seat is empty. We got nobody. With nineteen months to go, the Democrats have no serious candidate yet to challenge Governor Walker. No, it's not too late, but it's getting there.

This might be surprising for a party that faces an incumbent with an approval rating hovering around a modest 50%. Maybe it's the money Walker has and will have, maybe it's the national profile, but Scott Walker feels like a much stronger candidate than his approval numbers would indicate.

The Democrats need someone with at least a long shot chance of winning and a sure chance of building the party for the long run. So why not consider a guy who hasn't been considered?

State Superintendant Tony Evers just easily won his second statewide race with 60% of the vote. Along the way he picked up bipartisan respect for the way he goes about his job. Serious but affable, reasonable but principled, genuinely concerned about the kids and schools he serves, and able and willing to reach across the aisle. We could do a lot worse.

Plus, Evers would be naturally suited to run a campaign that would prompt a serious discussion of the most fundamentally important long-run issue this state faces: the quality of its public education system.

Could he win? Yes, he could be governor and also the Brewers could win it all in October. Face it. He's a long-shot, but no longer than any other possible Democratic candidate who comes to mind. And Evers could set the direction for the party as being serious, genuine and thoughtful about issues that really matter to everyone in the state.

We are not a deep red state. We voted for President Obama. Again. Almost two hundred thousand more voters cast their ballots for state Assembly Democrats than Republicans. The GOP holds a 60-39 majority in the Assembly only because they gerrymandered the districts behind closed doors.

It's possible that Evers could appeal to those independent voters who want something besides red meat partisanship from either side. If Walker stumbles and creates an opening, we need a credible alternative who would make a good governor.

Why not Tony Evers?

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