An informal sampling of a handful of local Democratic Party leaders around the state suggests that Joe Wineke is the fave for party chair and that local party faithful support AG Peg Lautenschlager over Dane County Exec. Kathleen Falk.
While some of the Dems are cautious about Wineke, of those interviewed most picked him as their choice for next party leader.
"I like Jeff Rammelt a lot but he doesn't have the charisma nor the drive to be state chair," said one district chair. "Joe, on the other hand, has the aggressive personality to fend off all takers."
"I think from what I've heard in (my district), it's pretty evenly divided," said another chair. But the Dem said that Rammelt may get votes because he's seen as less of a Madison insider, and a change of pace for the party.
"I think the Wineke and (current Dem Party Chair Linda) Honold ticket will be the winner," said another Dem, who has yet to decide. "Joe is better known (than Rammelt), and Linda's got the four years of chair under her belt."
But one out-state Wisconsin Dem says there are some out-state concerns about Wineke as chair. "I think Joe is an insider in Madison, and I don't know how concerned he will be with races outside the Madison and Milwaukee area, which is a traditional complaint those of us outside Madison and Milwaukee districts have."
The Dems are optimistic about Gov. Jim Doyle's prospects, with one chair putting his chances of re-election success next year at 65-35. They also don't anticipate a challenge coming from the party's left wing at Doyle. Some on the left have criticized the guv as too centrist.
"There won't be a primary," said one Dem. "My guess is Mark Green (will win the Republican primary) because Scott Walker seems to have some problems. And Green's more moderate than Walker, if there are any moderates left in the Republican Party."