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Winnebago County Executive Harris won't run for governor

OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris said Friday morning he would not run for Wisconsin governor next year – unless two other potential Democrats decide not to run.

In an e-mail to reporters, Harris said he couldn’t raise enough campaign money to, “bring the policy extremes of the current administration to an end.”

Wisconsin Democrats appear to be paving the way for former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke to run against Republican Governor Scott Walker next year. Party insiders reportedly favor Burke since she could spend a chunk of her own money on the race.

State Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate all but endorsed Burke this week, saying the former Doyle commerce secretary would probably win a primary. Tate also indicated that Democratic leaders don’t want to waste money on a primary, and be caught without enough cash next August to stay up with Walker’s already-large campaign war chest.

Burke has not said when she’ll decide on running. State Senate Democrat Kathleen Vinehout of Alma, who lost in last year’s Democratic recall primary for governor, says she’ll decide next year whether she’ll get in the race.

State Republican Party director Joe Fadness said Harris’ decision was not surprising. He said Democrats “hand picked” Burke long ago, and that she advocates, “the failed policies of the past.” 

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