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Wisconsin State Senate Dem quits party, potentially costing them majority won in recall

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins

A reported political snubbing may result in Wisconsin Democrats losing a functioning majority in the State Senate, erasing the one advantage they got from last month’s recall election.

The AP reports:

A Democratic state senator says he has quit his party’s caucus after Majority Leader Mark Miller offered him a weak committee chairmanship post.

Sen. Tim Cullen of Janesville says Miller insulted him by offering him the chairmanship of the Small Business and Tourism Committee. Cullen turned the position down, saying the panel doesn’t matter, and Miller responded by making him the only Senate Democrat without any committee chairmanship.

Cullen says he will no longer join Senate Democrats’ meetings and is considering whether to become an independent.

Miller’s spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

Democrats currently hold a 17-16 edge in the Senate. That will jump to 17-15 next month after Sen. Rich Zipperer, a Pewaukee Republican, leaves to join Gov. Scott Walker’s staff.

Walker, of course, beat back a Big Labor-led effort at throwing him out of office last month. His critics took solace in the fact that Walker had at least lost control of the state legislature, although with the governor’s agenda mostly enacted it seemed too late to be of any help to them. While the Democrats will still technically hold the the majority, this one disgruntled lawmaker can now potentially split the chamber on key votes.

Here’s Cullen’s announcement to fellow lawmakers. He states ” I will not become a Republican” but does indicate he is open to working with them.

“This entire episode makes clear to me that Sen. Miller has no time for my independent ideas and my support of bipartisan solutions to the state’s problems,” Cull said, adding later: “I look forward to working with each member of the state senate to address the issues facing Wisconsin.”

 

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Sean Higgins

Senior Writer
The Washington Examiner