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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

WI-08: NRCC Picks a Candidate

Posted by DavidNYC

The current rep of WI-08, Republican Mark Green, is running for Governor. The district went for Bush 55-44, which means a Dem could possibly win there, especially since it's an open seat. Mindful of that - and Wisconsin's late primary date, in September - the NRCC has decided to get involved on the GOP side. It's unusual for groups like the NRCC, DCCC, etc. to take sides in contested primaries, but sometimes they do.

In any event, they've tapped WI Assembly Speaker John Gard. Gard's opponent, state Rep. Terri McCormick, is obviously pissed and may yet cause trouble. On our side, we've got three people running: Wealthy self-funding doctor Steve Kagen, Ex-GOPer Nancy Nussbaum, and Jamie Wall, an economic development director for current Dem Gov. Jim Doyle.

A contested primary has both positive and negative aspects. However, I think the negatives can start to outweigh the positives in situations where a) the primary is very late and b) one side doesn't have a primary. If the Dem primary is expensive (which it may well become, especially with Kagen's presence), the short turn-around time may leave Dems short of cash in the final stretch run. I'm not suggesting the DCCC follow the NRCC's lead here, but if this is looking like a top-tier pickup opportunity, they should keep some cash stashed away to be deployed after the primary.

Posted at 02:54 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Wisconsin | Technorati

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Jamie Wall is the best chance for Democrats to pick up this seat. He has already picked up Rep. Obey's endorsement along with some labor unions. But more important than any endorsements, he's a 6th generation Wisconsinite and understands the values important to voters in the district better than the other candidates.

Posted by: sally [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2006 04:11 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yay for divisive Republican primaries.

Remember, we held this set until 1999 (well, from 1997 to 1999). So we can win here too.

Posted by: RBH [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 18, 2006 04:50 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Appleton (Outagamie Co.) is my hometown and co anchors the Wis-8th with Green Bay (Brown Co.).

This could shape up to be a very interesting race on both sides of the fence. Appleton is the GOP stronghold in the 8th, not the slightly larger Green Bay. Jon GARD is from Peshtigo located in Marinette county, a small community on the peninsula north of Green Bay. Demographically, McCORMICK needs to roll up big numbers in Outagamie County and smaller Fox Valley communities to win. She is a proven vote getter in Outagamie County.

GARD is Wisconsin's version of Tom DeLAY. A very polarizing figure. McCORMICK is photogenic and more personable. There are signs she is going to be playing the "political outsider" card against GARD, some what similar to what I expect CEGELIS will do against DUCKWORTH down in Illinois. This could be the closest primary contest the GOP has had in the 8-th since at least the 1970s. Toby ROTH & Mark GREEN both romped in the primaries against lesser opposition.

I can see good qualities and reasonable arguments being made for all three of the Democrats in Wi-8.

Nancy NUSSBAUM lives in Brown County the base of the Democratic party in the 8th congressional District. She is endorsed by Emily's List and is the most battle tested of the three Dems running. NUSSBAUM is considered a timid progressive, and has dipped her toes into other races and then backed away. Background in county level politics.

Jamie WALL is a Rhodes scholar who has the potential to be Bill BRADLEY-like. Questions about him include, does he communicate well with average voters? And does he have a natural political base? He is a first time candidate and thus is not battle tested at any level. He has Madison ties and is tapping the Madison progressive community for contributions and so far seems to be viable financially. Has potential, and I personally like him, but I would not objectively state he is the "best" candidate at this time. With no disrespect to David OBEY intended, his endorsement of WALL does not carry significant weight in the 8th Congressional District, though it might signal to political junkies he is worth taking seriously. No sign Governor DOYLE will take sides in the democratic primary. He is focused on Mark GREEN (and Scott WALKER), not Jon GARD this November.

Steve KAGEN is also interesting, but like WALL, not battle tested. KAGEN is the lone Democrat out of Appleton where he has his practice. His fundraising is truly impressive for a first time candidate. Exchanged a couple e-mails with him and he seems stable, viable, coherent, and photogenic. He is pushing health care reforms which is promising. Doctors need to be involved in health care reform.

While I hope McCORMICK can take down Jon GARD on the GOP side, I have no horse yet on the Dem side. Would lean against NUSSBAUM merely because I prefer bold to timid politicans. Politicans who are afraid to lose, miss opportunities to win. 2006 is a true opportunity for the Democrats in the 8th district.

Rev. Robert CORNELL a Democrat out of Green Bay won this seat in the aftermath of the Watergate scandals. The ABRAMOFF affair could replicate a similar reaction in the electorate favoring reformers over the status quo. People who look at past elections for insight into current trends should note those areas that shifted GOP to Dem in 1974. Those are areas where the GOP might be vulnerable this year as well. The 8th District in Wisconsin would be one of those 1974 districts.

One thing to keep in mind is an Appleton Democrat might be better positioned against Jon GARD than either NUSSBAUM or WALL. A native Appletonian might not seem so awful to Outagamie County voters if the McCORMICK - GARD race gets nasty, and GARD holds his lead and defeats McCORMICK. If this senario arises, KAGEN might be best positioned to pick up digruntled GOP voters. Jon GARD is a political pit bull, expect the blood to flow early and often.

The other dynamic is Mark GREEN & Jon GARD are not personally close. GARD wanted to be Governor, but the party steered GARD toward the WI-8th race after GREEN announced for Governor. GARD reluctantly concluded that was his best career move and announced for the house seat rather than the Governor's mansion.

Posted by: walja [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 20, 2006 02:19 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment