Two potential Dem guv candidates will have hospitality suites at next weekend’s state convention, but none of them will have a speaking spot.
State Dem spokesman Brandon Weathersby said the party decided there were too many potential candidates and not enough time to have them all address the convention. So far, only Bob Harlow, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in California last year, has formally announced plans to run.
Instead, the party offered them the option of hosting a hospitality suite, and Matt Flynn and Andy Gronik agreed. Their suites will run from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, the first day of convention. The party is working on a short video about the importance of winning back the guv’s office and will play that for delegates next weekend.
“We will address it,” Weathersby said of the guv’s race. “We do put a spotlight on the race, but not exactly the candidates.”
Flynn, who served two terms as state party chair, said he agrees with the decision not to let potential 2018 guv candidates address the convention considering more than a half-dozen names have been mentioned as possible candidates.
He also said his decision to do a hospitality suite is not an announcement about his intentions.
“This is me as an individual and as a former chairman,” Flynn said. “I like to discuss party issues and policy issues with delegates.”
Gronik said he was aware of the party’s decision not to allow potential 2018 guv candidates to address the convention when he decided to host the hospitality suite.
Brian Bell, administrator for the state Ethics Commission, said he could not address any specific situations. But generally, simply hosting a hospitality suite at the convention would not trigger any requirements to register a committee. Candidates generally have to register with the state if they are taking affirmative steps toward seeking public office.
Others who will have hospitality suites include party Chair Martha Laning and two of her challengers: former AFT-Wisconsin President Bryan Kennedy and attorney Eric Finch.
Also, two of the five candidates for the party’s open spot on the DNC will host one: Peter Peckarsky, an attorney, and Khary Penebaker, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, last year.
The elections for both posts will be Saturday.
Others with suites include: U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Mark Pocan; U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin; the ADCC and SDCC; and Planned Parenthood.