On Tuesday I wrote about Democratic State Senator Pat Kreitlow’s announcement that he’ll challenge incumbent Rep. Sean Duffy in the 7th Congressional District in 2012. At the time I noted it was likely Sen. Kreitlow wouldn’t be the only Democrat running to unseat Rep. Duffy, as former Democratic State Senator and Tourism Secretary Kevin Shibilski (pictured) seems to be laying the groundwork for a run.
According to a source, Shibilski is “currently assembling a team and seriously considering a run,” and as former elected official who won seven Portage County Elections and three State Senate elections (which included Portage and the surrounding counites) and who has been a successful businessman since leaving public service, Shibilski will no doubt present a formidable challenge to Sen. Kreitlow. It’s no secret Shibilski strongly considered a run in the 7th CD in 2010, only to step aside under what I can only presume was intense pressure to hand the Democratic nomination to State Sen. Julie Lassa, who ultimately lost to Sean Duffy in November. At the time he announced he wouldn’t run for former Rep. Dave Obey’s seat, Shibilski said, “I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit that I wish there had been more time and a more open process to select a candidate,” and I’ve been told Shibilski doesn’t want another “anointment” like the one that took place in 2010.
While I understand why Dave Obey, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin would like to see the Democratic field cleared for State Sen. Kreitlow to make a run at unseating Rep. Duffy, I’d like to see a contested Democratic primary. A contested Democratic primary will no doubt get Democrats in the 7th CD energized and active, both of which will be absolutely necessary if any Democrat is going to beat Sean Duffy in November 2012. What’s more, I’ve never been a fan of “anointing” candidates and clearing the field for said candidates, because I believe voters should be given a choice on who they want to represent them, rather than having their candidates picked behind the scenes by party operatives and power brokers.