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Liberal Groups That Used Online Voting Won’t Endorse In Governor’s Race

No Democrat Received A Majority Of The Vote In Final Round Of Voting For 'Wisconsin's Choice'

Phil Roeder/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Two liberal groups that used online voting in an effort to narrow the Democratic field for governor won’t endorse any of the candidates after all.

The groups Our Wisconsin Revolution and the Wisconsin Working Families Party conducted the votes as part of an effort they called “Wisconsin’s Choice.” During their previous round of voting in June, they identified four finalists: longtime activist Mike McCabe, Madison firefighter Mahlon Mitchell, former Madison state Rep. Kelda Roys and Alma state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout.

But Wisconsin Working Families Director Marina Dimitrijevic says none of the four candidates received the majority of the vote needed to earn the nod.

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“In fact, no candidate even received more than a third of the vote,” Dimitrijevic said.

The lack of an endorsement marked an anti-climactic conclusion to a process that appeared to get the candidates’ attention.

Several appeared in Wisconsin’s Choice forums around the state in addition to “virtual forums” where they addressed specific issues. Most recently, the four finalists appeared in a debate.

The prospect of an endorsement was likely enticing to candidates looking for a way to stand out in the eight-candidate primary. Our Wisconsin Revolution was formed by supporters of Bernie Sanders looking to keep his movement alive after the 2016 election. Sanders won Wisconsin’s Democratic presidential primary overwhelmingly.

While the “50 percent plus 1” threshold set by organizers proved to be too high for any candidate to reach, Dimitrijevic said the groups had no regrets.

“We wanted it be a high threshold, and we were unable to reach that,” Dimitrijevic said. “But the project is about the movement and building action in the network and beating Scott Walker. It was never really about one candidate in particular.”

Dimitrijevic said people were asked to commit to 10 hours of volunteer work in order to vote. She said more than 5,000 people voted, which would translate to more than 50,000 hours of volunteering if people follow through.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, who did not make the group’s final round of voting, has led in every publicly released poll of the Democratic primary. Should he end up being the nominee, Dimitrijevic said the groups would likely put it to a vote on whether or not to support him.

“It’d be very likely that we would support the Democratic nominee,” Dimitrijevic said. “We just want to ask folks.”