The unpredictable political career of state Rep. Brett Hulsey took another unusual turn Monday, when the seldom-dull Democratic lawmaker from Madison suddenly announced that he plans to run for governor.

“It’s not raining today, so it’s a beautiful day for a red convertible,” Hulsey said early Monday, referring to the red convertible he bought with campaign contributions and which he says is for use on the campaign trail. He made the comment shortly before the area was hit with a downpour.

Hulsey’s latest move means that at least four Democrats could face off in the Aug. 12 gubernatorial primary. Madison School Board member and former Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke, who previously served as commerce secretary under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, is seen as the presumed nominee; Brookfield doctor Hariprasad Trivedi and Marcia Mercedes Perkins of Milwaukee are also in the race.

The deadline for candidates to file their nomination papers and declarations of candidacy is June 2. The winner of the primary will face Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Nov. 4. Several independents and other candidates also have registered to run.

“Our focus remains squarely on Scott Walker,” Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki said following Hulsey’s announcement. “Mary Burke has a real plan to grow our economy, create jobs and strengthen the middle class and a game plan to beat Walker in the fall.”

“It doesn’t matter who the Democratic nominee will be,” Walker campaign spokeswoman Alleigh Marre said. “We’re confident that voters want to continue moving Wisconsin forward and have no desire to return to the failed policies of the past.”

Speculation has been swirling for months that Hulsey, 54, would not seek re-election to his seat in the state Assembly — which he has held since 2011 — largely because of erratic behavior that has drawn criticism, even from fellow Democrats.

That has included a July 2012 incident at a Madison beach in which he toppled a 9-year-old boy using a flotation device and allegedly took pictures of him. Hulsey pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct but repeatedly has said the allegations were linked to political enemies trying to undermine him.

Hulsey also faced another investigation last year after he brought a box cutter to the Capitol and threatened to bring his muzzleloader.

Capitol Police began investigating Hulsey in February 2013 after his then-aide said he was acting erratically and she feared for her safety. The aide was later reassigned to another Democratic lawmaker’s office.

At the time, Hulsey said he was trying to “provide a safe workplace” and brought the cutting tool for use in a self-defense training he was planning.

Hulsey has since acknowledged that he was getting counseling, which he said was to help him cope with childhood abuse, and said he was going through a divorce.

Hulsey has been accused of grandstanding in the past. But on Monday, he said he has already paid his dues traveling the state and meeting people.

“I’ve been touring the state since 1988,” Hulsey said, citing his work with environmental groups. “I’m not like the other candidates that have to go and meet people.”

Hulsey said his gubernatorial platform would include a plan to put money into things like clean energy jobs, job training, public schools and higher education. He also said he would create a Penokee Hills State Park rather than the controversial mine planned for Northern Wisconsin.

And Hulsey said returning broad collective bargaining rights to public workers would be a top priority.

He called Walker’s time in office his “reign of error.”

Hulsey was first elected to the state Assembly in 2010, and previously served on the Dane County Board.

He runs an energy and environmental consulting business, Better Environmental Solutions.

He was facing two primary challengers for his Assembly seat, Mark Clear and Lisa Subeck. His gubernatorial bid means that he can’t seek re-election to the Assembly.

(20) comments


Yeah. We have the presidency. And will likely have it for the next 8.


All i know Queen is your side keeps losing :) makes me happy. one more thing POST THIS!!!! hahahahaha


You should be more sorry that you fail basic grammar which eliminates you from
A) becoming a legislator where you could "shut them down after 8 hours of that nonsence" (sic).
B) acquiring my job

Every time you post, the reading world weeps.

Joe Taxpayer

This guy looks like the typical nutjob liberal. He might actually make Burke look not semi-normal.


Hey Xright.
"It wasnt going to change nothing".
If you don't get why your words are funny, you're probably the joke.....I could only be funnier if you added "I could care less", but I digress....

Much like the statement of telling the senators who fled to do their job, the assembly is paid. Hearing testimony is their job. They, at the leadership of the accused sex offender Bill Kramer, opted to not do their job.


Well Queen if you want to watch people drool al over themselves for 18 hours be my guest. Simple fact, they was doing nothing more then stalling. I would have shut them down after 8 hours of that nonsence. Time to move on eh. Sorry you lost out on your scam of a job... NOT.

bitter clinger

The Koch brothers funding Hulsey's run for govenor - thats a good one. Maybe they can finance Joe Bidens run for president to mess up Hillary's chances. As to Act 10, 60 hours of debate was more than enough. The democrats in the assembly were playing games by getting all kinds of speakers to do nothing more than delay a vote. Their voices were heard. Just because a bunch of solidarity singer wannabees say they have something to say doesn't mean we should have endless and senseless debate. As Barack Obama likes to remind us, elections have consequences. God bless Scott Walker.


Quenn: I would also be tired of hearing a bunch of hog wash at 1am. it wasnt going to change nothing. I dont give a steaming pile what they had to say either, the same has been done to Republicans also on many MANY ocassions, the Lib media just dont hihglight the mis-doings or cheating of the Dem. party. If you hate Walker its becouse you was milking off of the rest of us. That time is over, get over it. Good Day!

Joe Taxpayer

Clean energy jobs = Pork

Kay Nine

Oh look, another Republican't funded candidate to muddle up the Democrat run.... this is getting tiring. Let's have a competition to see who can trace his funding back to the Koch brothers first. Ridiculous. Burke IS a good candidate. When she first gave hints she wanted to run, the Republican'ts were scared and immediately started making up lies... even before she officially announced her candidacy. They don't like her because she actually wants to run the state... not be a puppet for the rich like Walker. They are scared and will do anything they can to stop Burke. We CANNOT face another run with Mouthbreather "I Wanna Be President And Live In A Big White House" Walker. Wisconsin used to be a great state. Now it's just an embarrassment.


It was an embarrassment under Doyle...(D)'s are an embarrassment to this country


In no way am I saying both parties have problems, but I find the way the vote was called and Bill Kramer's rise very alarming. It was a stunt, and a cheap one at that. It sent a very sketchy precedent for future legislation. Whether you are for Act 10 or not, that's not that the way laws should be passed.


Right you are Queen.. Not to mention all the other sleazy stuff Walker and his crew have done. I do think he will be reelected though, but he has no chance for the Republican presidential nomination.


Xright, if you choose to show distain for the senators leaving the state, what are your feelings on Bill Kramer's (yes, the accused sexual predator) assembly call to vote regarding act 10.
Senators leaving slowed the process, but the abrupt call to pass with the quick closing of the roll (at 1:00 am)should be pretty alarming to any voter. There were still multiple people on the docket to speak, but I guess their views weren't important enough. If this is how Wisconsin conducts itself, we've got bigger problems ahead.
Here is a link from wisconsin eye:


Burke was too much a liar, they needed to throw another name out there for them to divulge. I think the Dem. party choose their candidate way too eagerly in the hopes they would have stronger party allegiances but, they was surely mistaken. Too much of their true colors have been seen by the people with all the Union allegiances. Stack that on top of all the antics pulled by their party running to Illinois when the tuff got going. Scott Walker was and is such the correct choice!


The move by the Madison lawmaker, who has faced criticism from members of his own party over unusual behavior in recent years, means that Democratic candidate Mary Burke will face a primary challenge.

SO? Who's funding him?

From the comments at The WSJ so far, it appears that even most Madisonians don't like him.

Great comment at The WSJ and something to think about: Might be genius. Unpopular far-left candidate provides contrast to moderate, business-friendly Burke. Can paint Hulsey and Walker as extremists from opposite ends of the spectrum, with Burke as rational middle.

Burke will still win the primary and go on to face the Unqualified Presidential Candidate Hopeful. She will win all the Democrat vote, the majority of the Undecided vote, and just enough of the scandal fatigued Republican voters who will do the right thing and vote Walker out of office.

Now there are 13 Candidates running for Governor:

Brett Hulsey (D)
Scott Walker (R)-
Steve Evans (R/Write-In)
Scott Paterick (R) - Ex-Wisconsin Rapids City Councilman, Financial Planner & '10 Candidate
Mary Burke (D) - Madison School Board Member, Ex-State Commerce Secretary & Ex-Manufacturing Executive
Maria Mercedes Perkins (D)
Hari Trivedi (D) - Physician & '10 Write-In Candidate
Robert Burke (Libertarian) - Health Insurance Account Executive & USAF Veteran
Dennis Fehr (Peoples) - Painting Contractor
Francis Klein (Pirate) - College Student
Eric Bruce (Independent)
Travis Swenby (Independent) - Taxicab Driver, Musician & '10 Candidate
Steven Zelinski (Independent) - Roofing Contractor & '12 Write-In Candidate

northwoods resident

To answer your question about who is funding this nutjob, the answer is no one. You will not be seeing any ads that end with "Paid for by the commitee to elect Brett Hulsey".

JT fact checker
JT fact checker

Walker's dream. A way left leaning loon enters the primary against Burke.


Obviously, there is no joy in the Walker camp hearing this.

the voice of reason

"...the red convertible he purchased with campaign contributions..."

More like a red FLAG.

The fact that Hulsey is running will only help Walker's odds.

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