Gender matters as 2 women top Democratic ticket

CREATED Aug 24, 2014

  • Print
  • Invited by the Breitenmoser children, Mary Burke picks and eats an apple off their tree with them. The Breitenmoser children are (from left to right) Maggie, 10, Calvin, 4, and Abby, 8. Image by Michael Sears

MILWAUKEE - Democrat Mary Burke is the first woman to win a major party nomination for Wisconsin governor, but you wouldn't know that from her campaign. She rarely strays from her main message of job creation.

Political scientist Richard Matland says that's likely a smart move given the tight race against Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Matland says that while Democrats like to say Walker has "a woman problem," Burke has "a man problem."

He says men who might once have voted Democrat as part of labor unions have gravitated in recent years to the GOP.

Matland says Burke touting her business experience at Trek Bicycle Corp. could alleviate concerns among some swing voters who might otherwise see her as too liberal.

Recent polls show Burke locked in a dead heat with Walker.