Vinehout says injury prevents run for governor

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Associated Press
Friday, January 17, 2014

ALMA, Wis. — State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout announced Friday she won’t seek the Democratic nomination for governor, saying a severe injury she suffered in a car accident last month would prevent her from mounting an effective campaign. 

Vinehout said in a statement the bone in her upper right arm splintered and that she needs to spend so much time rehabilitating the arm that she wouldn’t be able to run “the intense, grass roots campaign that I want to run and would be necessary to win.”

Vinehout, of Alma, had been exploring a possible run until the accident. Her decision leaves former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive Mary Burke as the only likely Democrat to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November.

Many see Burke as the most viable candidate because she can use her personal wealth to fund her campaign and counter Walker’s formidable fundraising efforts. Burke’s campaign said earlier this month that she had raised nearly $1.8 million since she entered the race on Oct. 7, including $400,000 of her own money. Burke and Walker must submit their 2013 fundraising totals to the state by Jan. 31. 

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said in August that he believed Burke would be the front-runner in any Democratic primary. He issued a statement Friday saying Vinehout remains a “vital force” in the party.

“Without question, Wisconsin is a better place with Kathleen Vinehout in public service, and we look forward to hearing her strong progressive voice around the state as she continues her recovery,” Tate said. 

Telephone and email messages left with the Burke campaign on Friday morning weren’t immediately returned.

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