MADISON, Wis. - The president of the Professional Firefighters of Wisconsin said he's seriously considering a run at governor if a recall election is triggered.
Many may have heard Mahlon Mitchell's name or one of his speeches at the state Capitol protests this winter and spring targeting Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining legislation. He has emerged as a strong voice for state unions, and now some are hoping that voice rings through if a recall is triggered against Walker.
Mitchell may never have eyed the governor's office before, but said a recall against Walker is first priority.
"We need to bring our state back together," said Mitchell. "That is first and foremost in my mind."
Last week, an activist from Sheboygan started a Facebook page urging Mitchell to throw his hat in the ring in the event of a recall.
"I was flattered," said Mitchell. "I'm humbled by it and when I saw the response from people, it's flattering and humbling. And it's quite the process."
And it's a process Mitchell said he is now seriously considering.
"Well, there are a lot of good candidates right now that are out there," said Mitchell. "And I'm going to do what I can to help them, but yes, I can be that voice."
Capitol watchers said that a potential run by a union officials shouldn't be seen as unusual.
"I think what you're seeing is that without a preeminent Democrat, there are a lot of plausible candidates out there," said University of Wisconsin political science professor Charles Franklin. "And someone from the unions and the union movement is not an unreasonable thing. Maybe the irony here is we could end up with a contested Democratic primary."
Franklin also said there are advantages and disadvantages with being a political outsider like Mitchell.
"It is certainly going to be a referendum on Gov. Walker, but the old political line is,'You don't beat somebody with nobody,' and when it comes to the contest of an actual recall election, it will be Scott Walker versus some particular democrat," said Franklin.
A spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin said it will not comment on any individual's chances for a gubernatorial run until the recall election is further under way.
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