Bowen Will Run For Lieutenant Governor
Rep. David Bowen joins Lena Taylor, Sara Rodriguez in Democratic primary.
Democrats now have multiple prominent names in the race for lieutenant governor.
Representative David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) announced his candidacy on Monday morning.
Bowen, 34, was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2014. He previously spent two years as a member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.
“I’ve thought about this long and hard, I’ve wrestled with this decision and the risk that comes with it,” Bowen said at his campaign announcement. “It’s very clear the future of our communities depends greatly on what happens in Wisconsin’s state capital.”
A motivating factor behind his decision: “Over the last two years, seeing an immense amount of folks advocating for change in the streets, advocating for change in Madison, and not seeing nearly the amount of change that we deserve” helped push him to run, Bowen said.
The representative is a graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools and the son of two Jamaican immigrants. He attended UW-Milwaukee. Bowen was a daily participant in the racial justice marches in 2020 that occurred following the killing of George Floyd.
Bowen’s background is in youth and community organizing with local organizations like Urban Underground. He said Monday, “I was dragged into politics kicking and screaming.” He explained that he was comfortable working in the background of politics, but eventually came to the realization that solving the problems in his own community would require him to be an “advocate in the halls of power.”
Bowen will find a familiar face competing with him for the Democratic nomination. Senator Lena Taylor, whose district includes Bowen’s assembly district, declared her candidacy in October. Bowen endorsed Taylor in her unsuccessful 2020 run for Milwaukee mayor.
Rep. Sara Rodriguez of Brookfield also announced her candidacy last week. Rodriguez is a registered nurse and healthcare executive who was first elected in Nov. 2020.
Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes is running for U.S. Senate instead of re-election alongside Governor Tony Evers.
A primary will be held Aug. 9, 2022, with the general election coming Nov. 8.
Bowen announced his campaign just off of E. Capitol Dr. near the Oak Leaf trail. He told a crowd of supporters and media, “this is very unique location.” He explained that the two communities, Shorewood and Milwaukee, had at times joined together on issues where they had little in common. Bowen’s assembly district includes the Village of Shorewood and pieces of the city of Milwaukee.
Bowen said he has spoken with Gov. Evers about his decision to run. “I am confident with my campaign we can build a winning coalition, to help Democrats and Gov. Evers win the governor’s office again.” The state representative said he wanted his campaign to give people “something to vote for, not just vote against.”
The Democratic nominee will ultimately be paired with Evers against Republican challengers. Former lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch is a front runner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, while a number of candidates are vying for the Republican lieutenant governor post. Declared candidates include Sen. Patrick Testin, Ben Voelkel, a former aide to U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and David Varnam, mayor of the city of Lancaster.
Bowen, then vice chair, ran unsuccessfully in 2019 to serve as chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
The representative contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 after being exposed prior to a statewide Safer at Home order and for a period early in the pandemic was one of the highest-profile Wisconsin residents to contract the disease.