A source close to Joe Wineke tells me that the former state chair of the Democratic Party has filed his papers to run for Dane County Executive.
Wineke, a Verona native, represented the area that includes much of Middleton and Green County in the State Senate for six years, after which he lost in the 1998 Democratic primary for Congress to Tammy Baldwin. He was DPW chair for 4 years, between 2005 and 2009.
Wineke is an old-school Wisconsin pol. Gregarious and collegial, Wineke is also known to enjoy a good beer (or two).
The addition of Wineke makes the field on the left even more crowded, although it is increasingly hard to determine what to call "the left" in a Dane County race. While Scott McDonell and Joe Parisi are no doubt progressive candidates, center or center-right would probably be a more accurate label for Zach Brandon, who recently served in the Doyle administration.
Wineke's name recognition in areas outside of Madison could be a big advantage in the primary, as well as the commitment he will get from plenty of Democratic activists. However, it has probably been 12 years since Wineke last knocked on a door -- in stark contract to Parisi, who was campaigning in his Assembly district less than two months ago.
McDonell has similarly not had to aggressively campaign in many years. Only time will tell if he'll be able to make up for it.