Friday, January 16, 2015

Joe Wineke

Yesterday we brought you the story of Mike Tate's long overdue and ungraceful eventual exit from the Democratic Party chairmanship.  Today Joe Wineke declares his candidacy for the post!  

January 16, 2015

Dear Fellow Democrat

I am writing to let you know that I have decided to run again for Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

When I chose not to seek a third term as Chairman in 2009, I left feeling that things in our State were in pretty good shape.  During my tenure, we had retaken both Houses' of Legislature, added a 5th Congressional Seat, held the Governor's Office, and had both U.S. Senators.

Six years later, we have lost the Governor's Office, one of our Senate Seats, and both Houses' of Legislature.  We can...and better.

I am not running for Chair to point fingers at others.  I am running because I truly believe we have an opportunity to lead an effort that will create positive change for the people of Wisconsin, beginning right now.

Here's how:

First...let's quit playing defense all the time.
The public agrees with us on the issues, but we are constantly letting Republicans define the message, and by definition, defining us.  We do that by playing offense.

Second...we do that through messaging.
Message matters.  We need to create an "Opportunity Agenda" based on putting people first.  Our "Opportunity Agenda" will be based on economic, educational, and equal opportunity for all.  In musical terms, we must create a symphonic message based on these themes.  Variations to our symphonic theme will be based on:

·         Economic Security:  People know they are falling behind.  We, as Democrats, have not given enough people the belief that we will help them succeed.  Supporting the working class is paramount to their security.  Better wages, reducing student loan debt, support for the right to collectively bargain, making housing more affordable and attainable need to be key to that effort.

·         Educational Opportunity:  Democrats need to stand behind public schools.  Let the Republicans side with the rich and powerful on this issue.  We need to remind people that public dollars should go to public schools...period.  Rural schools in Wisconsin have reached a crisis point.  If we quit playing on the edges and show the public whose side we are on, we can win this issue.  We are currently losing it.  I believe that the Democratic Party renaissance will begin in rural Wisconsin and the issue is education.

·         Equal Opportunity:  Political parties must stand powerfully behind core issues.  Equal opportunity for all, whether one is straight, gay, black, white, Native American, or anything else must be defined by Democrats.  Republicans have been allowed to pander to prejudice for too long.  Let it define them and define us.

If handled properly, the core issues of the "Opportunity Agenda" will rise to a message crescendo that will help lead us to victory in 2016 and beyond.  Of course, there will be other issues that will matter in our fight to reclaim Wisconsin, but it is far better to stick to a handful of powerful issues than to get bogged down in a hundred battles at once.

Third...we need to rebuild our Party from the bottom up.
Neither a "top down" Party, nor a "top down" message, resonates with average people.  We need to create a better message, more effectively using modern communication mediums on social media, like Facebook and Twitter.  I propose the creation of a Social Media Advisory Council within the Party to create a daily message based on our "Opportunity Agenda".

Fourth...there is an old saying that states, "You can't beat somebody, with nobody".
When I was Chair, we fielded a variety of candidates in every legislative and local race we could, not just competing in the "so called" competitive seats.  Not to mention, we were pretty darn successful in doing it, filling the vast majority of seats for the Assembly and Senate.  In 2014, we left 31 of 60 Assembly Republicans off with "free rides".  If I am elected Chair, those days are over.  We won't win a lot of those seats, but we might just steal a few.  In addition, it is a smart way to build a local party base that will likely increase our percentages in GOP counties enough to get a few more percentage points at the top of the ticket.

2016 has the potential to be a very good year for Democrats in Wisconsin.  Republican control in Washington and Madison will expose the stark difference between the two parties.  We can win Wisconsin in the Presidential election and retake the Senate seat Ron Johnson currently holds.  We can also gain seats in the Legislature and add seats in city, county, and school board elections.

I want to lead that effort.  I strongly believe that if we follow the plan I have laid out in this letter, we can become a majority party again....and I will put my money where my mouth is...if we don't add seats to what we already hold electorally, I will not seek re-election as Chair.  Promises that are made, must be kept.  I will do just that.

I intend to be a full-time chair if elected in June, 2015.  I will run an aggressive campaign aimed at meeting as many of you as I can during the course of the next six months.  I ask for your support and guidance.  I have been around politics long enough to know that I don't have all the answers, and will make some mistakes.  We all do.  But, I will work as hard as I can to make a better and stronger Democratic Party in this State.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me.


Joseph Wineke


  1. Great job! I could not agree more. One small note, which you have GOT to get right to be taken seriously by those of us in public education fields: there is no apostrophe after "Houses." Signed, Your Local Elementary School Teacher

  2. I think its time for the Central, Northern and Western Wisconsin Democratic Parties should break away from DPW. That is the only way we will win elections. Peter Barca is pulled in too many directions, Joe led the Democrats during a time when Democrats couldn't lose and pissed it away in two years. The party is more than Madison and Milwaukee and I don't see a leader from that area ever coming up north. Another two years of losing. Joe will be really good about pushing more worthless lit pieces.

    1. If we want the counties to absolutely fail, pulling away from DPW is the right way to do it. Rather we should get DPW's house in order.

    2. I agree that there has been far too much reliance on the big cities. Im in a rural area and our county is the 3rd worst in terms of shifting pro-Walker. But this is not because of too much DPW involvement. It is because of NONE! There has been no party discipline and we have candidates who are going around saying that Liberals cant win here anymore and proving it by being as un-Liberal as possible. We cant have any kind of coherent message unless we get on the same message and woe to those to undermine it! When the counties are given a plan the chaos will stop.

  3. Jason Rae just announced as well.

  4. Joe Wineke is the one who put "His Pawnship" the loyal Mike Tate in office, soooooooo you would vote for Joe Wineke …why ??????

    1. And Jason Rae is Tate's heir apparent. Why would anyone vote for him?

  5. A grassroots based, local party oriented clearinghouse is the only function that the DPW has a chance to make a difference with. To that end, the fundraising ability of a party chair should empower local groups to gain permanence. The easy way is to open an office in any town or village where two people will show up regularly. Storefronts abound in rural areas and can be had for peanuts. A local message can only come from your neighbors, and they need to be respected all the way up the pyramid, indeed the pyramid needs to be turned upside down.

  6. The Joy Cardin Show Thu, 11/13/2014 - 1:15pm
    Wineke Might Run For State Democratic Chair If Tate Doesn't
    Nice political back stabbing to get rid of Tate, Joe. You still have that killer politics in you, even eating your own in the process.

    1. But you have no problem with Tate selling out the party and the state? Stay classy there!

  7. Love your energy on WPR Friday mornings. Democrats must focus on honoring labor as did Lincoln who understood that labor creates wealth. That message should resonate all over the state! Stop the party infighting and unite against the foolish, shortsighted policies of the Republicans.