Erpenbach denies claim that he's decided not to run for Gov. - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Sen. Erpenbach denies claim that he's decided not to run for governor


His name has been mentioned along with a number of other Wisconsin Democrats as a possible challenger to Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election.

So far, Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) hasn't done anything to quiet that chatter publicly.

But in a conversation with the head of Milwaukee's largest public sector union two weeks ago, Erpenbach allegedly ruled it out privately.

Richard Abelson, Executive Director of AFSCME (American Federation of State, City and Municipal Employees) Council 48 told 27 News the following on Monday:

"I thought that he (Erpenbach) had indicated quite clearly that he wasn't interested in running for Governor in this go around of the recall, but that he would be very interested in running, perhaps two years from now."

Erpenbach told 27 News on Monday morning that was not accurate.

Despite the denial, Abelson says the Senator went on to explain why he wouldn't run.

"I think he eluded to more personal issues, than anything else," said Abelson.

"I don't know, I've never come out and said I'm not running," said Sen. Erpenbach. "I never came out and said that I am running."

Erpenbach said he definitely talked with Abelson, but describes a much different conversation.

"What I told them was I'm real concerned about restoring collective bargaining and it has to start there, but any campaign for governor is so much more than that," said Erpenbach.

And once again, Erpenbach stuck to his standard response about a run for governor.

"Its something that I continue to think about and just respond to the contact that I've gotten from all over the state as far as those wishing that I would," said Erpenbach.
Abelson said if Erpenbach is reconsidering his position he welcomes him.

"If Senator Erpenbach is adding his name to that list, that will only make it stronger," said Abelson.

AFSCME Council 48 of Milwaukee conducted interviews with five other Democrats, including Senators Kathleen Vinehout and Tim Cullen, as well as fomer Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Rep. Peter Barca and former U.S. Congressman Steve Kagen.

Falk and Cullen have already announced they are running and none of the others ruled it out, according to Abelson.

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