Doug La Follette

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Doug La Follette
Doug La Follette 2006.jpg
28th and 30th Secretary of State of Wisconsin
Assumed office
January 3, 1983
Governor Tony Earl
Tommy Thompson
Scott McCallum
Jim Doyle
Scott Walker
Preceded by Vel Phillips
In office
January 6, 1975 – January 3, 1979
Governor Patrick Lucey
Martin Schreiber
Preceded by Robert Zimmerman
Succeeded by Vel Phillips
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 22nd district
In office
1972–1974
Preceded by Joseph Lourigan
Succeeded by John Maurer
Personal details
Born (1940-06-06) June 6, 1940 (age 75)
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Marietta College
Stanford University
Columbia University

Douglas J. "Doug" La Follette (born June 6, 1940) is an American academic, environmental activist, and politician from the state of Wisconsin. A Democrat, he is the current Secretary of State of Wisconsin.[1] He ran in the 2012 Democratic primary during the special election to recall Governor Scott Walker.

Early life and career[edit]

La Follette was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Marietta College, his Master of Science in chemistry from Stanford University, and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Columbia University. He began a teaching career as an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin–Parkside in Kenosha.

Known as an environmentalist before running for public office, he was a Wisconsin organizer of the first Earth Day for Gaylord Nelson in 1970 and co-founded Wisconsin's Environmental Decade (now known as Clean Wisconsin) with Peter Anderson.

His great-grandfather was an uncle of Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette.[2] Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette's grandson, former Wisconsin Attorney General Bronson La Follette, has described Doug La Follette as a "second cousin, three times removed" from Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette.[3] According to professor and author Nancy Unger, Doug would also be considered the 3rd cousin of Bronson.[4] Doug went on to serve with Bronson from 1975 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1987.

Political career[edit]

La Follette first ran for office in the 1970 U.S. House of Representatives election, losing to Les Aspin in the Democratic primary for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district. La Follette served in the Wisconsin State Senate for Kenosha for one term.

La Follette was elected Secretary of State of Wisconsin in 1974. He unsuccessfully ran for Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin on a ticket with Governor Martin Schreiber in 1978. In 1982, he was again elected Secretary of State, defeating incumbent Vel Phillips. La Follette has been the Secretary of State of Wisconsin ever since.

He has run opposed and unopposed several times for Secretary of State and shuns fundraising in the style of former Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire. In 1990, his opponent, Madison attorney and radio personality Stuart Levitan, campaigned on a promise to eliminate the Secretary of State's office, whose duties have been reduced and transferred to other agencies, including the State Board of Elections, under La Follette's tenure.

Since being elected Secretary of State, La Follette has run twice for federal office. In 1988, he ran for the U.S. Senate, losing the primary to Herb Kohl. In 1996, he made another bid for the U.S. House of Representatives, losing in the Democratic primary for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district to Lydia Spottswood, who went on to lose the general election to Mark Neumann.

In 2012, La Follette ran in the Democratic primary in the special election to recall Scott Walker.

Other roles[edit]

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election, 2012 – Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Tom Barrett 390,109 58
Democratic Kathleen Falk 228,940 34
Democratic Kathleen Vinehout 26,926 4
Democratic Doug La Follette 19,461 3
Known Republican running as spoiler candidate Gladys Huber 4,842 1
Wisconsin Secretary of State election, 2014 – General election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Doug La Follette 1,159,836 50.0%
Republican Julian Bradley 1,073,407 46.3%
Wisconsin Secretary of State election, 2010 – General election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Doug La Follette 1,073,005 52.6%
Republican David King 1,004,584 48.4%
Wisconsin Secretary of State election, 2006 – General election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Doug La Follette 1,228,438 57.6%
Republican Sandy Sullivan 722,872 38.2%
Green Party Michael LaForest 97,666 4.2%
Wisconsin Secretary of State election, 2006 – Democratic primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Doug La Follette 298,228 72.0%
Democratic Scot Ross 57,459 28.0%

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "La Follette, Douglas J". Wisconsinhistory.org. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  2. ^ La Follette weathers Republican tsunami, Journal Sentinel, December 11, 2010.
  3. ^ [1], Milwaukee Journal, February 10, 1970.
  4. ^ [2], Unger, Nancy (2008). Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Zimmerman
Secretary of State of Wisconsin
1975–1979
Succeeded by
Vel Phillips
Preceded by
Vel Phillips
Secretary of State of Wisconsin
1983–present
Incumbent