HUDSON — Led by gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers, a slate of Democratic candidates met with supporters Thursday during a campaign stop in Hudson.
The event represented Evers' first public visit to the Hudson area since he won the August primary, defeating seven other Democrats seeking to run on the November ballot against incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Evers told a packed house at Hudson Bagel & Coffee Co. that, in spite of the crowded field that split Democratic support, the party is energized.
In fact, Evers, who serves as Wisconsin's superintendent of public instruction, said the momentum created through the process has energized supporters, including those at the event who didn't vote for him.
"I believe at the end of the day that the primary actually made the Democratic Party stronger," Evers said after the event.
He said Somerset's Patty Schachtner, the Democrat who won Senate District 10 in last winter's special election to replace GOP Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, served as a model for others in the party.
"She was authentic, she had good ideas and people knew who the hell she was," Evers said.
He was joined at the event by lieutenant governor candidate Mandela Barnes, state treasurer candidate Sarah Godlewski and congressional candidate Margaret Engebretson, who is challenging Republican incumbent Sean Duffy in the 7th District.
Barnes also pointed to Schachtner's notable defeat of Republican Rep. Adam Jarchow in the longtime GOP stronghold of District 10.
"She showed us the way," Barnes said, turning to Schachtner, who was standing nearby. "We're going to follow your blueprint."
Barnes and Evers were rushed to a vehicle after a brief news conference, where they didn't answer a journalist's question about a running spat over national anthem protests between Barnes and Walker. A spokeswoman later referred reporters to a tweet Evers sent in response, where he called Walker's comment an attempt to distract. Not long after, Walker tweeted that "Standing for the American flag was something I learned a long time ago from my parents and my Scout leaders. It unites us as a nation."
Evers poked fun at himself during the event, addressing the notion that he's boring. Quite the contrary, he said, noting how he and his wife enjoy eating Egg McMuffins, playing Euchre and dancing to polka.