Thursday - January 18, 2018 3:43 am

Mahlon Mitchell, raising big campaign bucks, while still fighting fires — literally

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Mahlon Mitchell campaigning at Bodega in downtown La Crosse back in November. Mahlon Mitchell campaigning at Bodega in downtown La Crosse back in November.

Despite being one of the last Democratic candidates to join the race for governor, Mahlon Mitchell is holding his own when it comes to fundraising.

Numbers out this week shows the state firefighters union head had raised $310,000 in just seven weeks. That's second among candidates who didn't fluff their totals with personal loans to their own campaigns.

And he's done it despite his full-time employment and duties as state firefighter union boss. The feat is turning some heads this week after the first campaign donation reports.

"A firefighter by trade, I'm still an active-duty firefighter," Mitchell said. "I still actually work in a fire station.

"On my days off, I represent the firefighters around the state, trying to trying to secure better hours, wages and working conditions, and talk about our health and safety at the state capitol."

Mitchell admits it helps to have a core group of supporters already behind him.

"A good thing having people around the state, being present on a statewide body," he said. "wherever I go, I normally have some men and women that can show up at a rally or forum or what have you."

As for Mitchell's firefighter job by day, he has no plans to take a hiatus.

"I love the job," he said. "I've been doing it for 20 years. I'm still riding the firetruck. I'm an officer downtown at Station 1. I enjoy it very much."

While the fundraising goals were impressive for Mitchell, all democratic candidates combined reported less than Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's totals for the same fundraising period.

And, the only Democratic candidate to raise more than Mitchell according to this week's filing was state superintendent Tony Evers with $312,000 in donations.

Other candidates reported more cash, but much of that came from personal wealth.

Mitch Reynolds

Mitch Reynolds is the News Director at Midwest Family Broadcasting. He covers the internecine agonies of La Crosse city hall. He really likes basketball.

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