The Democratic primary for lieutenant governor has been a wash so far. It's hard to pinpoint a front-runner, despite assumptions (I plead guilty too) at the beginning of the campaign that Tom Nelson would eventually box-out all of his competition, perhaps with the help of Tom Barrett and the DPW. However, the rumors that the party is desperate for a non-Milwaukee candidate seem to have been greatly exaggerated. If the party would prefer a non-Milwaukee balance to the ticket, it is not willing to take a risk of alienating supporters of Spencer Coggs to do that.
Now, it looks like Coggs has as good a shot as anybody maybe even better. Unless Nelson and Sanders can spend money on some media buys, such as radio or TV spots, what is to stop Coggs from winning based on his enormous base in Milwaukee and the support of major unions and other legislators?
Coggs has the endorsements of the most important labor groups in the state, including two chapters of AFSCME, of which he is a former member, WEAC, the AFT and SEIU. These are only some of the unions who are supporting Coggs because they know he has been there for them during his three-decade career in state government. Public sector employees especially see Coggs as an advocate against budget cuts and furloughs. These are not just press releases these are commitments to GOTV efforts and other crucial campaign services. They matter a lot.
Moreover, Coggs has a dedicated base in the biggest Democratic center in the state. In fact, Nelson's emphasis on the fact that he won an election in a Republican area might highlight one of his biggest weaknesses how many Democratic primary voters are there in Nelson's neck of the woods? In an election year with no meaningful gubernatorial primary, only the most loyal Democrats are going to be going to the polls in September. In fact, many of Nelson's swing voters may opt to vote in the GOP primary, in which there actually is a gubernatorial contest (sort of).
Sanders has been developing a Madison/progressive base, but again, I doubt whether his admirers have the commitment that Coggs' do. I think he is relying on an army of activists in the Madison area to try to get out the vote. He has also done a good job at getting his name in the news by putting out columns on gay marriage and abortion issues that attract attention within the Democratic base.
What can I say? I have no idea who's going to win this thing. You guys got any?