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Dana Wachs Democratic gubernatorial candidate

Dana Wachs announced Friday that he is dropping out of the race for governor.

A second Democrat this week backed out of a crowded primary field for governor after a weak showing in the Marquette Law School poll.

Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire announced Friday morning that he is backing apparent Democratic frontrunner Tony Evers.

“Now is the time for unity,” Wachs said in a press release. “Now is the time to fight for Wisconsin’s future. That is why I’m proud to endorse Tony Evers for governor. He is a good man and a tireless advocate for our schools, workers and families.”

Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik withdrew from the race on Thursday saying he would endorse another candidate soon. Wachs’ decision leaves eight Democrats in the field.

Both Democrats have struggled to gain traction during the campaign, with Gronik netting 4 percent support among Democrats polled, and Wachs pulling in 2 percent. Evers, the state schools superintendent, captured 25 percent.

Kelda Roys, who won the straw poll at the state Democratic Convention, a progressive Democratic online poll and an endorsement from the influential EMILY’s List, received 2 percent. Thirty-four percent of Democratic voters remained undecided.

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“The Republicans are eager to see the Democratic candidates tear each other apart in a nine-way primary,” Wachs said. “I will not give them that satisfaction. I believe Tony is the best person to defeat Scott Walker in November, and I am proud to endorse him for governor.”

Evers has the advantage of being the field’s only candidate to win statewide races, having won 70 percent of the vote last year over conservative candidate Lowell Holz and 61 percent in 2013 to beat conservative Don Pridemore. In 2009 he took 57 percent of the vote over Rose Fernandez.

The Marquette Law School poll results showed 7 percent support each for former Democratic Party chair Matt Flynn, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and former Wisconsin Democracy Campaign director Mike McCabe. State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout garnered 5 percent, firefighter union leader Mahlon Mitchell won 4 percent and attorney Josh Pade won 1 percent.

The primary is Aug. 14.

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Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.