Jul 25, 2012 5:54 PM GMT
State Sen. Tim Cullen, a moderate Democrat from Janesville, broke with his party's caucus Tuesday, saying he may become an independent over what he felt were political "insults" by the Senate majority leader.
Cullen said he made his decision, announced to the rest of the caucus by email, after Sen. Mark Miller, D-Monona, slighted him with committee assignments. Every senator in the caucus was given at least two committee leadership positions. Cullen has none.
Miller said in a statement Tuesday that Cullen turned down an "important" committee overseeing small business and tourism.
The immediate result of the defection is not known. Democrats took control of the Senate on July 16 by a 17-16 margin and are still moving into new offices. State Sen. Rich Zipperer, R-Pewaukee, is stepping down Aug. 6 to take over as Gov. Scott Walker's deputy chief of staff, so even if Cullen leaves the party, Democrats will still hold a slim majority: 16-15-1.
The Senate isn't scheduled to meet until January, and 16 of 33 seats are up for election in November.
Cullen said he did not know why he was ignored for leadership positions that appealed to him, but imagined it had to do with his independent nature and track record of working with Republicans on certain issues.