‘It’s not looking good': Hulsey, other lesser-known candidates need gubernatorial miracle


By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. — Brett Hulsey may be a dreamer, but at this late stage of his improbable campaign for governor the Democrat-turned-independent is sounding more and more like a realist.

“I don’t know, it’s not looking good. I don’t think I’m going to win,” Hulsey, a state representative from Madison, told Wisconsin Reporter Monday.

Hulsey, who became the pariah of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin for daring to challenge the party’s anointed candidate, Madison millionaire Mary Burke, is running a late-in-the-game write-in campaign. Hulsey won’t appear on today’s ballot, but that hasn’t stopped him from driving his campaign-purchased Volkswagon Cabriolet to tell anyone who will listen he remains in the race.

MR. INDEPENDENT? State Rep. Brett Hulsey switched his party affiliation from Democrat to independent after he lost in this past summer’s Democratic Party primary for governor. He has since launched a write-in campaign.

With no money, not much name recognition and the ire of a Democratic Party that all but shut him out of the Dems’ state convention earlier this year, Hulsey was trounced by Burke in this past summer’s partisan primary elections.

To be certain, Hulsey carries plenty of personal and political baggage. The box cutter episode at the Capitol didn’t help his cause any. He’s an unrepentant progressive who despises incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker even more than he does Burke, for whom he has long carried a bitter taste after he said Burke badly treated an entrepreneur while she served as commerce secretary under former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.

He may be an outcast in his old party, but Hulsey says at least his progressive ideas to govern Wisconsin are his own, not plagiarized from other sources as was the case with Burke.

And the small businessman claims he knew about the allegations Burke was fired from her family-owned Trek Bicycle Corp. in the early 1990s long before the former Trek employees first shared their accounts with Wisconsin Reporter last week.

“That’s pretty bad when you are fired by your dad,” Hulsey said of Burke, who, sources say, was let go as director of Trek’s European operations due to poor performance.

Burke and her surrogates have denied she was fired, instead claiming the company “reorganized” the European operations and her position was “eliminated.”

Other candidates for governor on Tuesday’s ballot have also received scant media attention.

Dennis Fehr, of Chippewa, is running as the candidate for the People’s Party, which bills itself as “a new and eager party whose primary goal is to innovate existing state government policies and programs to create a better future for the families of Wisconsin.”

Fehr and the People’s Party, among other issues, believe in simplifying the tax code, the legalization of marijuana and reform of the judicial system, according to the party’s website.

Also on the ballot, Robert Burke, a libertarian from Hudson. He espouses the Libertarian Party beliefs of limiting the role of government to protecting the freedoms of its citizens. He, too, believes in the legalization of marijuana.

“Voting Libertarian today is about Legalization as much as declaring our social and economic liberties,” Burke wrote Tuesday on his Facebook page. “Do me a favor and vote Libertarian because you’re smart enough to realize you can’t keep voting for a two party system and expect change.”