Republican Gov. Scott Walker is seeking re-election in 2014 after winning the governor's office in 2010 and surviving a recall last year.
MADISON/EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP,WEAU) -- Former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke has officially entered the race for governor.
Burke, a Democrat, made the announcement Monday morning. The Harvard-educated former business executive has also led the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.
Burke is the daughter of Richard Burke, who founded Trek Bicycle in 1976 in Waterloo. She worked for the company in a variety of capacities, including as its director of European operations, helping to start and oversee companies in seven countries.
Burke left Trek in 2005, when then-Gov. Jim Doyle tapped her to serve as Commerce Department secretary. She held the post for two years.
"I know there's a lot to do to get Wisconsin going again. But I also know the great possibilities of this state, and how far we can go when we work together. That's why I'm running for governor, and I hope you'll join me.” Burke said in a campaign release.
Burke's announcement that she's running for governor comes as no surprise to those in the Democratic Party and those who follow wisconsin politics.
“By announcing early and having statewide name recognition, as well as having money you can pull out of your own pocket to finance your campaign, quite frankly, that gives you a number of strikes against other candidates and they're going to think very seriously before getting in,” political analyst John Frank said.
The former Trek bicycle executive is touting her success in business to show how she'll grow jobs in the state.
“We need someone who knows how to grow and develop jobs to turn that around and that's the knowledge and ability she's got,” Eau Claire County Democratic Party Chair Beverly Wickstrom said.
Burke is a former state secretary of commerce, but republicans are targeting her relative inexperience.
“A woman who has some experience but not too much, up against a governor with a proven track record of creating jobs,” Eau Claire County Republican Party Chair
“I think we offer a real platform reform going forward, I think whomever ends up being our ultimate opponent will take us back to the failed policies of the previous few years,” Gov. Scott Walker (R) said.
“It's kind of a double edged sword. People don't know a whole lot about you, but on the other hand, there isn't anything to shoot at either. As long as that person has significant private sector experience, this candidate apparently does ... then the fact that the political experience isn't there may not be that big,” Frank said.
Senator Kathleen Vinehout said she's still considering a run for governor and will make a decision early next year.
Statement on Burke's announcement from Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma):
“I wish Mary Burke the best. Politics is fun, exhilarating and important. Running for office is a great education. Everybody should do it at least once.”
Statement by Friends of Scott Walker:
“Under Governor Walker’s leadership, Wisconsin has balanced a $3.6 billion deficit, cut income taxes, and we’ve seen our best two-year job growth in a decade under any governor. We're confident that voters want to continue moving Wisconsin forward, and have no desire to return to the failed policies of the past. “