Rep. Obey won’t seek reelection


Speaking at a news conference earlier today, Rep. Dave Obey, who has served in the House of Representatives longer than anyone in Wisconsin’s history, noted he was too weary for what was shaping up to be a very bruising reelection campaign:

“There is a time to stay and a time to go. And this is my time to go,” he said. “I hate to do it. There is so much that needs to be done. But frankly I am bone tired.”

In a conference call earlier today, Mike Tate, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, celebrated Dave Obey’s legacy as a champion for working families, adding Obey’s leadership and influence will be missed. Tate went on to say he wants to preserve Dave Obey’s legacy by winning the seat in November, and Tate noted the seat in the 7th Congressional district has been a Democratic seat for generations, and not just in Congress, with a 55.3% baseline Democratic performance in the 7th Congressional district.

Tate then went on to criticize Republican candidate Sean Duffy as an “absolute sham,” noting Duffy has never won a contested race and has hidden from scrutiny regarding his campaign fundraising, which has been assisted by criminal fundraiser Mark Block. Tate went on to add, “Sean Duffy is an eminently beatable candidate.”

It’s already been rumored Wisconsin State Senate majority leader Russ Decker may jump into the race for the Democrats, and when asked who the Democratic candidate would be in the 7th Congressional district, Mike Tate indicated he believed 6 or 7 individuals may express an interest in getting into the race, but he noted he didn’t expect a competitive primary, saying he expects Democrats to get together and decide who the candidate will be. Several names were mentioned as possible candidates, including State Senators Pat Kreitlow and Julie Lassa, State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker, and State Rep. Donna Seidel. Also mentioned by name was Christine Bremer, an attorney in Wausau, and if I was a betting man, my money would be on Russ Decker or Christine Bremer to be the Democratic candidate in the 7th Congressional district.


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14 thoughts on “Rep. Obey won’t seek reelection

  1. i.e. Obey saw the poll numbers and they weren’t favorable.

    Good luck with your less than stellar 3rd rate candidates.

    1. The polling I’ve seen showed Obey would still win; he’d just have to work harder than he was used to.

      1. Yeah that’s kind of what I meant. At this point, the poll numbers were showing it was competitive and Obey didn’t want to have to work hard for one more term. Go out on a high note. Can’t blame him for that.

        1. And perhaps one of those “third tier” candidates (though I wouldn’t call Russ Decker a third tier candidate) can bring a renewed vigor and energy to the race…

          1. While it’s way too early to really know, I think there’s certainly something to that argument. In particular, so much of Duffy’s work has been to frame himself relative to Obey – the un-Dave Obey. Obviously that’s all changed.

            There’s plenty of time for him to define himself on different terms and as opposed to whoever his candidate ends up being, but it certainly changes things. And it’s not like the familiarity and momentum he’s built up are suddenly gone – but I think it’s safe to say it will be a more energetic race no matter what.

            Also, obviously both primaries are going to be heavily contested so I’m not presuming Duffy will even get the nomination – but at this point, he certainly seems to have the advantage. Actually now that I say that, it’s not obvious that both primaries will be contested. Seems the state Democrats prefer to hand select their candidate and clear a path lately rather than leave it in the hands of voters. Not that I’m complaining – it’s their party, they can select their candidate however they want.

            The other interesting thing about this race…Duffy seems to be a sharp & charismatic guy. His wife might be the wild card. It seems like she’s got a bit of a temper – something that can make for an entertaining political campaign.

  2. Would a primary be bad? I don’t think us rural Wisconsinites (btw I’m not in CD 7) would appreciate an anointed candidate much. Then again, I would also hate to see a long, drawn out battle. It’s pretty clear Duffy will be the Republican nominee.

    When I got a call asking “have you heard about Obey?” at about 11:15 this morning, I knew he wasn’t running, but I figured it was because he was dead.

    1. I think a primary would be a good thing, because I think the voters should decide for themselves who the best candidate is.

      In other news, it’s being reported Sean Duffy may now have at least one more serious Republican challenger now that Obey’s out.

  3. A clean contested Primary would be fine. Tate’s role should be pressuring all candidates to run positive campaigns, not clearing the field.

  4. A contested primary would be very useful in allowing the voters throughout the district to get to know the candidates before the full-blown election season begins after the primaries. Coalescing around one candidate makes for complacency and indifference while GOPpers get their names out.

    Barrett should also be hitting it hard up North, as there are opportunities to be had if he gets his face out there.

  5. I’m hoping there isn’t a primary, if only because the last thing the Dems in the legislature need is too many open seats. A lot of the Dem held seats up there are ones we either definitely would lose if they were open (Kreitlow, Hraychuck) or would be put into play when they aren’t right now (Decker, Vruwink). A primary between Julie Lassa and someone from outside the legislature would be fine with me.

    1. If the scuttlebutt that Dems are trying to anoint a candidate are correct, I’d be willing to bet the “domino effect” is something that Democrats are trying to avoid. I think it was really intentional that Mike Tate mentioned Christine Bremer’s name, because she’d give the Dems a candidate who wouldn’t jeopardize any of their seats in the Senate or Assembly.

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