Eau Claire representative Dana Wachs announces run for governor - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire representative Dana Wachs announces run for governor


Wisconsin (WQOW) -- A Democratic legislator from northwestern Wisconsin says he'll challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker next year.

Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire announced Monday that he'll enter the race. Two other Democrats, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik and political newcomer Bob Harlow, have already announced their candidacies.

Other Democrats, who have registered campaign committees but not yet committed to running, include state Superintendent Tony Evers, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout and political activist Mike McCabe.

The 59-year-old Wachs holds a law degree from Valparaiso University and served three years on the Eau Claire City Council. He was elected to the Assembly in 2012 and currently sits on the chamber's university, judiciary and transportation committees.

In his interview as a gubernatorial candidate on Monday, Wachs said he is branding himself as a voice for regular folks. 

Wachs told News 18 there is no real policy in Madison, claiming that powerful groups are the driving force behind much of the legislation. Wachs said he is running to change that. "We can have such a wonderful state. We can have such a wonderful government if people are running the government, and not these powerful, wealthy special interest groups," Wachs said.

Wachs becomes the third Democrat to officially announce, but a handful more have hinted at a run.

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While the representative and attorney is well-known in Eau Claire, that's not the case statewide; that's why Wachs will be wayfaring across Wisconsin in hopes of standing out from the rest of the field.

"I'm a different kind of Democrat. I'm a progressive from the northwest part of the state. I'm a hunter, I'm a fisherman, and I've been representing regular folks in the middle class for 31 years in the court system. The system is rigged against people in the middle class and rigged against regular folks. We need to give a voice in Madison to regular folks," Wachs said.

If Wachs wins the nomination, his other challenge will be the fundraising gap. According to campaign finance reports, Wachs raised just over $40,000 in the first six months of this year. Gov. Scott Walker amassed $3.5 million in that same time.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin released a statement on Monday, attacking Wachs' history as a trial attorney. Wachs responded by saying he stands by his record.

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