Mary Burke trounced state Rep. Brett Hulsey in the Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday, winning 84 percent of the vote.
Hulsey was considered a longshot, with a tiny campaign chest and no backing from party leaders.
Burke has been campaigning for months, as if she has been Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s November opponent. Now that she is officially her party’s nominee, Burke says her game plan will continue: make sure voters get to know her and her plans for the state.
Unlike many candidates Tuesday night, Burke kept a low profile. Instead of appearing at an election night party, she continued campaigning in northern Wisconsin.
Gov. Walker, meanwhile, attended a primary night rally at the GOP Field Office in Waukesha. Walker took the stage just after 10:00 p.m., pouring out criticisms of Burke, for her tenure as former state commerce secretary.
“We don’t want to go back to the days of double digit tax increases, billion dollar budget deficits, and big time job loss. Remember, Jim Doyle, Jim Doyle handpicked Mary Burke to be a part of his cabinet, to be his chief job czar, to be his secretary of commerce because he knew that she supported his policies entirely. That’s not just what he said, that’s what she said. We don’t need a third term of Jim Doyle’s failed policies,” Walker says.
Walker says if voters give him four more years, he’ll continue to lower taxes and Wisconsin’s economy will thrive.
At a Democratic primary party on Milwaukee’s east side, state Rep. Mandela Barnes said he thinks Burke would pay more attention to the needs of struggling residents, such as by raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.10.
“That's a big deal. We haven't had a candidate that's gone on to make such a bold statement. And I think that Mary Burke understands that and that people in the city of Milwaukee, and across the rest of the state -- but specifically speaking, in the city of Milwaukee -- and our rate of poverty that a minimum wage increase would do a lot to help a lot of people,” Barnes says.
The race between Burke and Walker is expected to remain tight.
There are only about 80 days remaining until November’s election.