Somewhat of a rarity by the La Crosse County Democratic Party but, perhaps, not for long.
The party has announced its endorsement of Mitch Reynolds for mayor of the city of La Crosse.
“It’s not something that has happened a lot in the past but I feel it’s really important that we weigh in on local issues a lot more,” first-year La Crosse County Democratic Party chair William Garcia said Tuesday on La Crosse Talk PM. “We want to be assistants in the community, we want to be involved in the community, and a good part of being involved in the community means speaking out on candidates that we feel would be really strong for various positions. I think we’re going to be endorsing a lot more going forward.
To that end, Garcia said Reynolds was an easy choice — based on policy — and was the overwhelming choice by voters at the party’s monthly meeting Monday night.
“When we looked at Mitch’s policies,” Garcia said, “when we looked at his concern for marginalized voices in our community, for lower income people in our community, to maintain the course of environmentalism — becoming carbon neutral by 2050 — helping businesses with community block grants, help small businesses recover from COVID, everything just kind of lined up beautifully with how the Democratic Party thinks that America should be going.”
Reynolds is going up against Vicki Markussen in the April 6 election. Early voting has started already, and in-person early voting starts March 23 — the same day WIZM will hold its live debate.
Had the vote Monday gone to Markussen, this endorsement would not have been made public, because Markussen has stated she is not accepting endorsements from groups.
“We would just not say anything,” Garcia said, if the party voted the other way. “We would have just basically stated, ‘We do not issue an endorsement.’
“It’s the candidate’s decision and, of course, I reached out to both candidates before to make sure they wanted a public endorsement. We would never force our endorsement on someone that did not accept it first.”
The county’s Democratic Party did not make an endorsement in any of the mayoral primary — Garcia stated that is in its bylaws — and, he added Tuesday, that they would not weigh in on any of the seven city council races on the ballot, either, but that could change.
“We have a pretty strict, a pretty firm process for how that happens,” Garcia said of endorsements. “We only endorse if a majority of our membership that attends the meeting votes to endorse. And that means you have to set up everything months out in order to be ready to vote when the time is appropriate.
“This election, we are only endorsing in the La Crosse mayor race. But I think, going forward, we’ll be making a lot more endorsements down the ticket.”