Mary Jo Walters

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Mary Jo Walters
Mary Jo Walters.jpg
Former candidate for
Wisconsin Governor
PartyIndependent (write-in)
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
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Mary Jo Walters was an independent write-in candidate for Wisconsin Governor in the 2014 elections.[1] Mary Jo Walters lost the general election on November 4, 2014.

She originally sought the Democratic nomination for the office of Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor, switched parties to the Peoples Party following the August 12 primary, left that party on September 2 and decided to run for governor instead on September 8.[2][3]



See also: Wisconsin Gubernatorial election, 2014

Walters ran for election to the office of Wisconsin Governor as an independent write-in candidate.[1] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


General election
Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngScott Walker/Rebecca Kleefisch Incumbent 52.3% 1,259,706
     Democrat Mary Burke/John Lehman 46.6% 1,122,913
     Libertarian Robert Burke/Joseph Brost 0.8% 18,720
     Independent Dennis Fehr 0.3% 7,530
     Nonpartisan Scattering 0.1% 1,248
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0% 200
Total Votes 2,410,317
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
Primary election
Wisconsin Lieutenant Gubernatorial Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Lehman 55.2% 144,591
Mary Jo Walters 44.5% 116,518
Write-in votes 0.2% 631
Total Votes 261,740
Election Results via Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

Gubernatorial race background

November 2014 marked incumbent Governor Scott Walker's third election in four years. He first won in the 2010 elections, and he faced a high-profile recall election in 2012. Walker, a Republican, defeated the same Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by a similar margin in both elections. In 2014, Walker's main Democratic challenger was Mary Burke, a former business executive and current member of the school board in Madison.

2012 recall
See also: Scott Walker recall, Wisconsin (2012)

Democrats targeted Walker for recall due to his efforts to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions through Wisconsin Assembly Bill 11, the "Scott Walker Budget Repair Bill", which the governor introduced in February 2011. The bill was immediately met with wide-scale protests. While the passions of the 2012 recall and of the 2010 election, an election that saw Republicans win control of the House of Representatives and many other offices across the country, may not have been as strong in the 2014 election cycle, the underlying issues still existed and Governor Walker remained a divisive figure.[4] Walker is the only governor to have survived a recall and only the third governor to face a recall election in U.S. history.[5]

Common Core
See also: Common Core State Standards Initiative

In addition to the ongoing issues that fueled the protests and subsequent failed recall, the issue of Common Core surfaced in this race. Walker, a former supporter of the education standards, began to back away from his stance and sought to change how Common Core is implemented in Wisconsin.[6] Burke publicly supported Common Core.[7]

State of the race

Polling in October 2014 indicated a close race with few undecided voters, driven by the highly charged political atmosphere and almost continuous campaigning caused by the recall. The race depended on each candidate's ability to motivate supporters to go to the polls, rather than the ability to change the minds of undecided voters. As of July 2014, The Cook Political Report rated this race as a "toss-up."[8]

Libertarian Robert Burke and Peoples Party candidate Dennis Fehr were identified as potential variables in this toss-up race, though their vote totals did not contribute to the outcome of the race. Burke, a "socially liberal" former Republican, said that he "...can mess things up for both sides."[9][10][11] Fehr is the founder and sole candidate of the Peoples Party, not to be confused with the People's Party.[12]

Primary races

Both Walker and Mary Burke faced primary challengers but won comfortably for their respective parties' nominations. Walker's only opponent, Steve Evans, ran as a write-in candidate, while Burke was endorsed by the Wisconsin Democratic Party's Administrative Committee over her opponent, State Assemblyman Brett Hulsey.[13]

Lieutenant Governor candidacy

See also: Wisconsin Lieutenant Gubernatorial election, 2014

Walters ran for election to the office of Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor. Walters did not win the Democratic nomination in the primary on August 12.[14]

According to a flyer provided to Ballotpedia via email on July 25, 2014, Walters ran as an "Independent Green Democrat" in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor.[15]

Walters then joined gubernatorial candidate Dennis Fehr on the Peoples Party ticket as a write-in candidate for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor.[16][17] This partnership lasted less than a month and Walters left the Peoples Party on September 2.[3] On September 8, Walters announced her candidacy for the gubernatorial election.[1]


Mary Jo Walters video

Front of flyer

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Nick Katers, "Email communication with Wisconsin candidate Mary Jo Walters," September 8, 2014
  2. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Candidates Registered by Office," accessed July 14, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nick Katers, "Email communication with Wisconsin candidate Mary Jo Walters," September 2, 2014
  4. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Race tightens, with Scott Walker, Mary Burke tied among registered voters," May 21, 2014
  5. The Guardian, "Wisconsin governor Scott Walker survives bitterly fought recall election," June 6, 2012
  6. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gov. Scott Walker calls for Legislature to repeal Common Core standards," July 17, 2014
  7. WKOW Madison, "Burke supports sticking with Common Core in WI," July 19, 2014
  8. The Cook Political Report, "2014 GOVERNORS RACE RATINGS FOR JULY 30, 2014," accessed July 31, 2014
  9. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Two Burkes on ballot for governor," July 11, 2014
  10. The Cap Times, "John Nichols: Libertarians give Wisconsin another option," July 1, 2014
  11. Wausau Daily Herald, "Letter: More than two are running for governor," July 16, 2014
  12. Dennis Fehr for Governor, "About our Candidate," accessed July 9, 2014
  13. Democratic Party of Wisconsin, "Candidates," accessed July 31, 2014
  14. Democratic Party of Wisconsin, "Candidates," accessed April 22, 2014
  15. Image in email to Ballotpedia, July 25, 2014
  16. Politics1, "Wisconsin," accessed August 28, 2014
  17. Instagram, "Before the ride! Started in Merillan and went to eau Claire!," accessed August 28, 2014