MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Democratic state Rep. Brett Hulsey, who is mounting a longshot bid for governor, will not be given a speaking slot at the state party convention next month.
Hulsey, a state representative from Madison since 2011, has upset many with stunts such as promising and then deciding against handing out homemade Ku Klux Klan hoods before the Republican Party convention earlier this month.
Mary Burke, a former state Commerce secretary and Trek Bicycle Corp. executive, has garnered the most Democratic support and money in the contest to take on Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Burke, Hulsey and two other lesser-known Democrats – Marcia Mercedes Perkins and Hari Trivedi – have until June 2 to submit the 2,000 signatures necessary to get on the ballot.
Should more than one Democrat be certified for the ballot, they will square off in a primary on Aug. 12.
Burke is the only candidate who has been invited to speak at the two-day Democratic Party convention which begins June 6 in Wisconsin Dells, party spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff said Tuesday.
Hulsey did not ask for a speaking slot and because the party’s administrative committee voted on May 6 to endorse Burke, he will not be given one, Baldauff said.
Hulsey, who confirmed he had not asked for a chance to speak, said he was surprised the party didn’t want to hear from him given that he began working as a Democratic activist in the late 1970s, advised the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, served on the Dane County Board for 14 years and has been elected to the state Assembly twice.
“My Democratic credentials are better than Mary Burke’s,” Hulsey said. “When you put me up next to Mary Burke, it’s clear she’s not a real Democrat, she’s not ready for prime time.”
Burke’s campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki declined to comment.
Burke served as commerce secretary under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle from 2005 to 2007. She was elected to the Madison school board last year, but her run for governor is her first statewide campaign.
Hulsey said even though he won’t be allowed on the podium, he does plan to attend the convention and will pass out DVD copies of his speech. Hulsey said he’s also considering handing out Chinese Communist Party hats as a jab at Burke, who has been accused of outsourcing Trek jobs to China while she worked for the company in the 1990s. Burke has denied being involved with moving jobs overseas.