Sen. Tim Cullen says he will run for governor in recall election - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Sen. Tim Cullen says he will run for governor in recall election

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MADISON (WKOW) -- State Senator Tim Cullen of Janesville says he will run for governor in 2012. But, that's only if the recall petition drive against Governor Scott Walker is successful.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin put out a statement Wednesday claiming they need $150,000 in the next nine days to keep the recall effort going.

Sen. Cullen believes the effort will succeed and he wants to be the beneficiary of that.

"Every night I'd think about it and I'd watch to see who was going to run and I watched the field be unclear and I finally thought to myself, you know, why not me?", said Sen. Cullen (D-Janesville).

So far, Sen. Cullen is the only Democrat to step into the fray.

After serving in the state Senate from 1975 to 1987, Cullen began his second stint this year, representing Wisconsin's 15th District.

Cullen is seen by most people as a moderate and has spent much of this year going on bi-partisan outings with Republican Sen. Dale Schultz.

Even Gov. Walker praised Cullen's pragmatism in the infamous phone conversation with the fake David Koch in February.

"He's kind of one of these guys where, he really doesn't care, he's not there for political reasons, he's just trying to get something done," Walker said.

"It would be great to have his endorsement," Sen. Cullen quipped.

Cullen would like to have the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's endorsement too.

But spokesperson Graeme Zielinski says the party has bigger fish to fry right now.

"We really do need to raise $150,000 over the next couple weeks to keep our recall operation going," said Zielinski.

Party Chair Mike Tate wrote an appeal for the Democrats web site Wednesday, asking for donations to help keep recall staffers paid and offices open.

"Clipboards, paper for the petitions, offices, electricity for the offices... computers to go in those offices, internet connections, all this costs money," said Zielinski.

But, Zielinski admitted its likely Democratic donors will come through with the necessary funds by December 16.

Sen. Cullen isn't worried about it, saying he needs to get ready for a tough campaign.

"ThegGovernor's negatives are really high, so his political advisors are gonna say you gotta drive up your opponents negatives real high," said Sen. Cullen. "I expect a very, very messy campaign, but, my family will still love me."

Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) told 27 News he still has not made up his mind on whether he will also run for governor.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- State Senator Tim Cullen (D-Janesville) is the first Democrat to announce he will run for governor against incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, if the recall petition drive is successful and the Government Accountability Board verifies the signatures.

Sen. Cullen told the Janesville Gazette newspaper that last Friday.

Cullen was one of 14 Democratic senators to leave the state in February, in order to stall a vote on stripping state government workers of their collective bargaining rights.

Cullen was originally a state senator from 1975 to 1987, including five years as majority leader.

He also served as Wisconsin's Health and Human Services Secretary for two years, before working in the private sector at Blue Cross/Blue Shield for 20 years.

Sen. Cullen won an election for the 15th District seat last November and was sworn in on January 3, 2011.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will sit down with Sen. Cullen Wednesday afternoon to discuss his plans and will have a live report on 27 News at 6.

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