Milwaukee Dems say Barrett advisers pressured them to get out of lieutenant governor primary

    Someone is telling Milwaukee candidates for lieutenant governor to get out of the Democratic primary. But guv hopeful Tom Barrett says it’s not him.
    Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski dropped out of the Democratic primary, saying Barrett advisers told him the mayor didn’t believe an all-Milwaukee ticket could win come fall. Zielinski, though, said he only dropped out after he was sure that Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson, D-Kaukauna, was getting into the race. Nelson filed papers on Tuesday to join the race.
    The campaign of state Sen. Spencer Coggs, D-Milwaukee, said he also was approached by people claiming to speak on the mayor’s behalf, encouraging him to drop out. Coggs campaign consultant Zak Williams declined to name them other than to say they were not paid members of Barrett’s campaign staff. He said Coggs felt the conversation was inappropriate and took his concerns to Barrett, who assured the Milwaukee Dem he hadn’t authorized anyone to speak on his behalf.
    During a stop in Madison, Barrett said he believes an all-Milwaukee ticket can win.
    "Those must have been informal people; there’s no one from my campaign or my mayor’s office that made those statements," Barrett said about Zielinski’s claims. "No, I think you could. I think it depends on the person."
    Zielinski has identified Dem operative Evan Zeppos as one of the people who encouraged him to drop out. Zeppos, who is not part of Barrett’s campaign, said he has not spoken with the alderman in at least two months and did not talk to him at all about getting out.
    “Now, he’s making it up and not being truthful when he says I tried to talk him out of the race, at anyone’s behest,” Zeppos said. “Nothing could be further from the truth."

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