With a recently leaked poll, the first contours of the 2014 race for governor are coming into view.
Democrats have contended for months that they see Gov. Scott Walker as vulnerable, but they have not offered a candidate to run against him. But last month a poll was conducted testing the viability of Mary Burke, a former state commerce secretary and former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive.
The poll was conducted around the same time an unknown person registered five Burke-themed Internet addresses, such as BurkeForWisconsin.com and BurkeForGovernor.com. None of the websites are active.
Burke, who was elected to the Madison School Board last year, has not responded to interview requests since the poll surfaced in June. Mike Tate, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, issued a statement at the time saying Democrats were conducting polls for “several potential strong challengers” to Walker.
Democrats are hungry for a victory after Walker became the first governor in the nation’s history to survive a recall election last year. Republicans are equally motivated to keep him in office after having to elect him twice for one term.
Democratic strategists said Burke is seriously considering a run but has not made a final decision. They noted others could run, but they hoped to have just one candidate to avoid a Democratic primary.
Democrats said they liked Burke’s background in business and economic development — as well as the personal funds she could bring to the race — while Republicans pointed to her ties to former Gov. Jim Doyle and other issues as matters they could exploit.