Wisconsin Democrats hope 2014 will be remembered as the Year of the Woman
MADISON (WKOW) -- Tuesday night was big for Democratic women, as Mary Burke and Susan Happ both won their respective primary elections for Governor and Attorney General to make it an all-female top of the ticket in November.
If they both win in the general election it would make history, something Mary Lang Sollinger knows a lot about.
Sollinger was the one of President Barack Obama's top fundraisers in his historic 2008 and 2012 Presidential.
Now, as the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) Finance Director, Sollinger is trying to help Burke and Happ make history.
"I think there's an 'it's about time' type of mentality," Sollinger says. "I think we're one of only ten states that hasn't had a woman Governor yet, so, I think just being a woman and people talking about it - they're pretty enthusiastic that its a real possibility."
While Wisconsin has had a female Attorney General, there's never been a ticket with the top two spots punched by women.
"But, they weren't picked because they were women, they were picked because they're the right people for the job," said DPW Chair Mike Tate.
But as much as Tate plays up their experience, he and sollinger both know that doesn't build momentum the way something like a run at history does. The only questions left to answer are, how many independent women will be swayed and whether men in the state are ready for such a sea change?
"There was a comment about our culture is based on the male, maybe that's the Germanic and Scandinavian, but I think its really time and people are waiting for it," said Sollinger. "A lot of good men too, are excited about it."
But momentum and history aside, the Burke and Happ campaigns will have to lean on Sollinger's expertise in raising money, because both have huge deficits to overcome. At the end of July, Governor Walker had $7 million cash on hand to Burke's $1.5 million, while Schimel has more than $400,000, while Happ is nearly broke after spending most of her money to win a tough three-way primary.
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