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Government Reform Advocate Mike McCabe Enters Crowded Governor’s Race

McCabe Makes Pitch For Rural Voters On His Family Farm In Clark County

Mike McCabe
Glen Moberg/WPR

Government reform advocate Mike McCabe has joined a crowded field of candidates in the Democratic Party primary for Wisconsin governor.

Wearing his trademark blue jeans, McCabe made the announcement Tuesday at a hard-to-reach place: the farm he grew up on, down a gravel road north of the Clark County community of Curtiss.

“We’re close to 200 miles from the state capitol but it might as well be a million,” McCabe quipped to about a dozen reporters who made the trek to the countryside.

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He said he chose the location to make a point.

“In places like this, down gravel roads like this one, in places all across the state of Wisconsin, regular people are being ignored,” he said. “Their wishes aren’t being taken into consideration and their interests sure as heck aren’t being served at the state capitol.”

McCabe, the former leader of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, said he remains politically independent, even though he is running in the Democratic Party primary. He said Democrats used to be able to win in rural parts of the state.

“We have a political system that is broken, that has been corrupted, that is not working for average people, and we have a political culture that has become poisoned, and we have to change that,” he said.

McCabe called for universal access to health care, better schools, faster internet and a clean environment.

“A state that was known for clean air and clean water and you go to places in Wisconsin and there are people who are afraid to drink what comes out of their own water faucet. We’ve got lakes and streams drying up,” he said.

In a news release, the Republican Party of Wisconsin called McCabe a “hypocrite” because the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign took money from a foundation led by billionaire George Soros.

“Phony Mike McCabe posed for years as a pro-reform activist but was in reality taking money from dark-money heavyweights and practicing the partisan politics he condemns,” said Republican spokesperson Alec Zimmerman.

McCabe said Tuesday his campaign will not take donations larger than $200 from a single individual. He compared his race against his well-funded opponents to David and Goliath.

State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers, state Rep. Dana Wachs and businessman Andy Gronik are also already running for governor. The August 2018 primary will determine who will face Gov. Scott Walker.