Ben Wikler was elected chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in June of 2019. Since then, he has led the party through a string of historic victories, including Wisconsin’s defeat of Trump in 2020, Governor Evers’ reelection in 2022, and two landmark state Supreme Court wins that delivered a progressive majority to the Court for the first time in 15 years. In the process, Ben has built the WisDems to an unprecedented level of strength and national recognition as a force for progressive change.
WisDems, hailed as a “winning machine” by POLITICO, earned recognition from the Washington Post as 2020’s State Party of the Year. The party’s landmark virtual fundraising events, including a live cast reading of The Princess Bride, have raised millions of dollars, and led Fast Company to dub WisDems “the only state party with its own national identity” in their “10 most innovative branding companies” list. WisDems’ organizing innovations have set voter contact records in the state and become national models; as the New York Times wrote, “Look to Wisconsin for Lessons on a Digital Campaign During a Pandemic.”
Drawing on Wikler’s credo of Fight, Include, Respect, and Empower, the party has built a year-round team of remarkable diversity, talent, and professionalism—the largest permanent staff of any state party in the country. The party has mobilized tens of thousands of volunteers to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, built close partnerships with grassroots allies throughout Wisconsin and the nation, and raised more than $100 million to fund its work and support Democratic candidates in the Badger State. Ben—and the party’s work under his leadership—has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, The Isthmus, and many other publications, and Ben is a frequent guest on local and national television, radio programs, and podcasts, including Pod Save America, MSNBC, and CNN.
Prior to serving as Chair, Wikler served as Washington DC Director and Senior Advisor for MoveOn, where he played a key leadership role in the successful battle to save the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, as well as many of the other fights for economic, social, and racial justice of recent years. A lifelong activist, Wikler grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, where he first volunteered in politics at age eleven, stuffing envelopes for the Congressional campaign of his godmother, Ada Deer. In high school and college, he volunteered for then-Assemblywoman Tammy Baldwin, interned for Ed Garvey and Sen. Russ Feingold, and fell in love with his now-wife Beth while putting up posters together for a protest. Ben and Beth now live in Madison with their three children and their enormous dog, Pumpkin.