Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is considering running for governor for a fourth time, according to multiple Democratic sources.
Barrett’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment, but a source close to Barrett who was not authorized to speak on his behalf acknowledged he has had conversations about the possibility and there is a “10 percent” chance he might run.
However, the source said Barrett solicits political advice from many people and that just because he is doing so doesn’t mean he will get into an already crowded Democratic primary.
Democratic strategist Thad Nation, who has no direct knowledge of Barrett’s plans, confirmed what other strategists described only on condition they not be named: that Barrett is said to be discussing a possible run but that some advisers suggest it would be a mistake.
“I think the odds of him running are pretty low,” Nation said.
Candidates started collecting nomination papers Sunday and must turn them in by June 1.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing unnamed sources, first reported Tuesday that Barrett is “sounding out his team of advisers about entering the Democratic primary for governor later this year.”
If Barrett runs, he would be the seventeenth candidate competing in the Democratic primary seeking to challenge Gov. Scott Walker in the fall general election — a contest Barrett has lost twice before.
Barrett unsuccessfully ran against Walker in 2010 and in the 2012 recall election. He also failed to make it through the Democratic primary in the 2002 gubernatorial election.
Talk show host running
Also Tuesday, a liberal radio talk show host who owns a Milwaukee radio license and also broadcasts in the Madison area announced on his show he is running.
Mike Crute, who co-hosts the Devil’s Advocates Radio Show on WRRD 1510 AM in Milwaukee and WTTN 1580 AM in Madison and Columbus, said he has interviewed all of the candidates on his radio show and given them all “unheeded advice.”
“I don’t think any of them are being bold enough as campaigners to beat Scott Walker,” Crute said in an interview. “I’m going to be shockingly bold. That means tune in.”
Crute also acknowledged his advice included encouraging the Democratic candidates to buy four months of advertising on his radio station in the lead-up to the primary at a reduced rate of nearly $10,000.
“I’m not going to apologize for trying to sell commercials to political campaigns,” Crute said.
Crute said the only promotion he plans to do on his radio platform is “through paid advertising and when I’m asked to appear on other radio.”
He said he would not promote his campaign on his three-hour radio show, and acknowledged he has to be careful about campaign finance laws that bar corporate contributions to campaigns and limit in-kind contributions from individuals to $20,000.
He said he has hired former Government Accountability Board lawyer Shane Falk to address any campaign finance or other election law-related issues that may be raised by his campaign.