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Democratic Party Chair Tate To Step Down In June

Tate Became Chairman 6 Years Ago

State Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate announcing the results of a recall petition drive in early 2012. Photo: Shawn Johnson/WPR.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate announced on Thursday that he plans to step down in June.

Tate’s move brings to an end a tumultuous run for the outspoken leader. Tate held the position for six years.

He emailed party members on Thursday. In the letter, Tate said he came to his decision about a year ago. Tate said the party chairmanship wasn’t a job one does for a career, but one a person has the honor of holding for a short period of time.

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Tate, who is 35, was one of the youngest state party leaders in the country when he first was elected for the job in 2009.

At the time he was elected, Wisconsin Democrats were in charge of all levers of state government — not to mention Congress and the White House. It put him in charge of the party during the 2010 Republican wave, a year when Democrats lost control of the state Legislature and the governor’s office, as well as a U.S. Senate seat and two seats in Congress.

Tate also chaired the party during a tumultuous period, highlighted by the collection of more than 900,000 signatures to force a recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2012. He also oversaw the Democratic Party’s efforts in the 2011 and 2012 recall elections that saw Democrats flip a total of three state Senate seats but ultimately fall well short of ousting Walker.

Tate was in charge for Democratic wins like Tammy Baldwin’s victory for the U.S. Senate in 2012 and President Barack Obama’s re-election.

But, he was also the chairman for three Walker victories and a Republican wave in 2010 that saw them take majority control of the Legislature away from Democrats.

Already, former Democratic Party Chair Joe Wineke has said he plans to seek his old job now that Tate has announced he’s leaving. Democratic National Committee member Jason Rae is also reportedly considering running for state party chairman.

Stay tuned to WPR.org and Wisconsin Public Radio for continuing coverage.