Burke backtracking on support of former governor’s policies


By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke is trying distance herself from former Gov. Jim Doyle, according to an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board, saying “there are certainly things we don’t see eye to eye on.”

BACKTRACKING: Gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke is trying to distance herself from former Gov. Jim Doyle even though she said she supported his positions entirely more than nine years ago.

But Burke was singing a different tune more than nine years ago when Doyle, a Democrat, appointed her secretary of Commerce.

“I support (Governor) Doyle’s positions entirely,” Burke said in an April 2005 story by the Capital Times. “I’m very impressed, and I’m starting to feel very Democratic at this point because I feel he is just doing so much that’s right for Wisconsin that creates a better place to live for everyone.”

But Burke, who is trying to unseat Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the November election, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday she disagrees with Doyle raiding more than $1.3 billion from the transportation fund to pay for other budget priorities, including education.

She also criticized the many tax hikes under Doyle and the large tuition increases in the University of Wisconsin System.

But that hasn’t stopped Burke from taking the former governor’s money.

Burke, who served as secretary of commerce for more than two years, has received $10,000 in campaign contributions from Doyle, the most allowed under state law.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin and Walker’s campaign have spent the better part of the year trying to tie Burke to Doyle, who saw a loss of about 133,000 jobs during his second and final term. They claim electing Burke would be a return to the past.

“Mary Burke can try to desperately run from Jim Doyle, but make no mistake, Burke and Doyle represent the same failed policies that put Wisconsin in a download spiral,” state GOP press secretary Jesse Dougherty told Wisconsin Reporter on Thursday. “Burke supported Doyle’s positions ‘entirely,’ and Doyle has even given generously to her campaign. While Wisconsin will continue its comeback under Scott Walker, under Mary Burke it’s clear we would go backward.”

The Burke campaign did not return phone messages and emails from Wisconsin Reporter seeking comment.

Walker and Burke are tied at 47 percent among likely voters in their race for governor, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday. Another 4 percent say they are undecided.

The poll interviewed 803 likely voters by landline and cell phones from Oct. 9-12. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.