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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Democratic field for governor in Wisconsin is starting to settle, with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announcing Tuesday that he will not launch a fourth bid, while 10 others appear poised to qualify for the Aug. 14 primary.

There is no clear front-runner in the crowded field looking for a chance to take on Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is seeking a third term. Democrats say the large field shows there is optimism that Walker is vulnerable. Republicans say there isn’t a dominant candidate among them.

“As Democrats move further and further to the left with policies that endanger Wisconsin’s comeback, even the liberal Milwaukee mayor who championed the recall efforts against Scott Walker is taking a pass,” state Republican Party spokesman Alec Zimmerman said in an email.

Barrett shook up the race in April when he said he was contemplating jumping into the race. He ran and lost in the 2002 Democratic primary and was defeated by Walker in 2010 and in the 2012 recall. But Barrett took no formal steps to run, and faced with a Friday deadline to submit 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot, Barrett made official what many had assumed would be the case: He’s out.

“I love my job as mayor and that’s where my heart is,” the 64-year-old Barrett said in a Facebook post Tuesday. “I hope to serve as mayor for many years to come, to continue to advance Milwaukee forward. I’ve still got the fire in the belly, and I wake up every day ready to roll up my sleeves to get to work.”

Also on Tuesday, the Wisconsin Democratic Party announced that 10 other Democrats had qualified to speak at the annual state party convention on Friday in Oshkosh.

The state party required the candidates to prove they had collected at least enough signatures to qualify for the ballot before giving them a speaking slot at the annual meeting that will attract hundreds of party activists and donors. The deadline to file those signatures with the state is Friday, the same day the convention kicks off.

Those who qualified to speak include current office holders state Superintendent Tony Evers; Madison Mayor Paul Soglin; state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, of Alma; and state Rep. Dana Wachs, of Eau Claire.

Also making the cut are former state Rep. Kelda Roys, of Madison; political activist Mike McCabe; businessmen and political newcomers Andy Gronik and Josh Pade; state firefighters union leader Mahlon Mitchell; and former state party leader Matt Flynn.


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