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Barrett Says Possible Bid For Governor Not A Criticism Of Other Dems

Milwaukee Mayor Says Wisconsinites Want Change From Gov. Scott Walker

Tom Barrett
Lukas Keapproth/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Thursday that the fact that he’s considering a bid for Wisconsin governor is not a criticism of other Democrats already in the race.

Barrett has spent part of the last two days responding to a Tuesday report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he’s thinking about running against Republican incumbent Gov. Scott Walker again. The Milwaukee Democrat lost to Walker in 2010 and 2012.

So far, 17 Democrats have announced their candidacies for this year’s contest. Barrett says he’s not criticizing them.

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“I’m not going to say a negative word about anybody. That’s not what this is about. It’s about making sure that at the end of the day, there can be change in the state. I think people want change,” Barrett said, declining to elaborate, but repeated earlier criticism of Walker’s economic policies.

A spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin issued the following statement in response to the possibility of Barrett running:

“We welcome all of the Dem candidates who are excited and motivated to run by the groundswell of Wisconsinites who want to remove Scott Walker, because he has served his own career rather than the people of Wisconsin. There is an experienced, diverse and large group of Democratic candidates for governor — but they all share a commitment to health care for all, supporting public schools, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure and serving the people of Wisconsin.”

Barrett also bantered with reporters about other reactions to his weighing a bid for governor.

“What’s happened is, I’ve had a number of people talk to me about the mayor’s job, I’ve had a number of people talk to me about the governor’s job, I’ve had a number of people who would like me to move away forever,” Barrett said.

“Was it to Tahiti?,” asked a reporter.

“Tahiti or Greece,” Barrett answered, continuing, “somebody suggested Greece today — ‘Just get rid of the guy one way or the other.’ I understand all that stuff.”

Barrett said he would make a “personal decision” on running for governor, but he declined to say how far ahead of a June 1 filing deadline for nomination signatures that he would do so.