Madison (WKOW) -- Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) announced Friday afternoon he will run to replace Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) as leader of the Wisconsin Assembly Democrats.
"I’m humbled by the words of encouragement and support I have received from my colleagues and citizens across the state of Wisconsin," wrote Rep. Hintz, in a statement. "Democrats are a diverse, big tent party shaped by our unique experiences and perspectives. As a group, we have always believed in the values of community, fairness, and opportunity. As leader, I will work every day to contrast these core Democratic values with a Republican Party that has never been more unpopular than it is now.”
Rep. Barca announced his resignation Thursday, just weeks after going against the vast majority of his caucus, by voting for the $3 billion incentive deal to bring electronics giant Foxconn to southeast Wisconsin.
Rep. Barca, whose district is near the area where Foxconn plans to build a massive complex, was one of only three Assembly Democrats to vote for the incentive package, which also rolls back some of Wisconsin's environment restrictions for the company.
Rep. Hintz was first elected to the State Assembly in 2006. He is one of four legislative Democrats who currently sits on the Joint Finance Committee, and has been an outspoken critic of the 2017-19 GOP budget.
In 2011, Hintz faced some controversy, pleading no contest in a sexual misconduct case stemming from an incident that occurred at a massage parlor in February.
Police cited him on February 10, after an investigation into Heavenly Touch Massage Parlor. Investigators began searching the business and a nearby residence after receiving a tip about prostitution.
Hintz said at the time he "made a bad decision" - and apologized to his family and community.
Shortly after that incident, Rep. Hintz told a fellow Oshkosh lawmaker, Rep. Michelle Litjens (R), "you are (expletive) dead," after the Assembly GOP passed Act 10.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin called Hintz a "sleazy politician" in a release put out Friday.
“While Republicans in the Legislature have fought to protect hard-working Wisconsin taxpayers, sleazy politician Gordon Hintz has created scandal after scandal, waging a personal war on women that shows that he doesn’t have what it takes to lead anyone - even the historically small Democratic caucus,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the RPW. “Wisconsin’s hard-working families can’t trust him to even respect them, let alone fight for them.”
A caucus vote on a new Assembly Democratic leader is expected in the next few weeks. Rep. Barca will step down at the end of September.
Democrats are facing their biggest minority in the Assembly since 1957, with Republicans holding a 64-35 majority.