Mark Neumann, the former congressman who was narrowly defeated by Russ Feingold in a 1998 senate race, just declared his candidacy for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. He’ll be going up against Scott Walker, the Milwaukee County executive and heavy favorite, as well as Mark Todd, a businessman from Appleton. According to Chris Liebenthal, Neumann is the only viable one of the lot.
Neumann should market himself as a wiser alternative to his opponent with a more diversified record. Walker cannot be described as anything but a career politician; he was first elected to the state legislature in 1993, when he was only 26 years old. Neumann has already come out and emphasized his roots in the “private sector,” a subject that will no doubt appeal to the Republican primary voters. Neumann should go after Walker’s dubious record as a county executive, including the state takeover of county services due to serious concerns of incompetence at the county level. Granted, it’s unfortunate for Neumann that his only political experience took place in Washington D.C. Walker will be able to say that he’s been “serving the state” his whole life, and he’s (wait for it) had “executive experience,” while Neumann has only been a legislator.
I think the endorsements could play a relatively significant role as well. If Neumann could get some heavyweights on his side soon he might be able to cut back on Walker’s massive fundraising and publicity headstart.