Pat Kreitlow to challenge Sean Duffy in 2012; will Shibilski challenge as well?

Yesterday Democratic State Senator Pat Kreitlow, who has served as the State Senator for the 23rd District since 2007, announced his intention to challenge Republican Rep. Sean Duffy in the 7th Congressional District in 2012. Here’s Sen. Kreitlow’s statement announcing his candidacy:

“I started exploring the possibility of a Congressional campaign after the new Republican majority began to show it had no interest in keeping its promise to focus on job creation and economic recovery back home” said Kreitlow. “The last straw for me was Sean Duffy’s vote to blow up Medicare, a promise we make to every middle class American that says decades of hard work will be rewarded with a retirement filled with the chance to stay healthy. Instead, he wants to give seniors a lame coupon and a shove back into the health insurance shark tank, even as he gives billionaires another tax cut. This is no time for a congressman to be so severely disconnected to what northwest Wisconsin needs from our representative to Washington.”

While Sen. Kreitlow was the “early bird” in announcing his candidacy to challenge Rep. Duffy, he likely won’t be the only Democrat running to unseat Duffy, as former Democratic State Senator and Tourism Secretary Kevin Shibilski seems to be laying the groundwork for a run. Shibilski had considered a run to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Obey in 2010, but he ultimately bowed out, but not before saying he wished, “there had been more time and a more open process to select a candidate,” in reference to Democrats clearing the field for State Senator Julie Lassa, who ultimately lost to Sean Duffy.

I’ve long believed that a contested Democratic primary in the 7th CD in 2010 would have ensured that the best candidate – not the candidate hand-picked by Democratic Party movers and shakers – emerged to run against Sean Duffy, and hopefully we’ll see a contested primary in 2012, because whichever Democrat ends up running against Sean Duffy will need to be at the top of his or her game.


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12 thoughts on “Pat Kreitlow to challenge Sean Duffy in 2012; will Shibilski challenge as well?

  1. I have nothing against Pat Kreitlow, I think that he could have put up a better fight against Sean Duffy the first time around. With that being said, I’m beginning to believe that based on the straight party voters and the republican wave there wasn’t anything that Julie Lasss, or Pat Kreitlow could do about it.

    On the other hand, in this election, I think that Kevin Shibilski is a formidable candidate. I think any Candidate who can self finance to an extent is formidable, and if he’s willing to work hard enough he could very well beat Kreitlow in a primary and Duffy in a General.

  2. I think Duffy had a huge advantage because he ran a year and a half campaign against Obey, and then when obey stepped aside, it put Lassa at a big disadvantage timing wise.

    Thats why it is so important that Rob Zerban started his campaign so early against paul ryan.

  3. There is a role for a primary to play. For all the money Julie Lassa ultimately spent, it didn’t seem that she established name recognition. Sure the party regulars who are always paying attention knew who she was, but Dave Obey’s 40 year tenure was so far past this first base, that it is almost forgotten. People don’t need to tear each other’s guts out in a primary. They can use it to attract attention (and news coverage)over an extended period, establish name recognition, and stake out some issues to use against Duffy in the general. Bring on a primary that will strengthen the candidacy of whoever wins.

  4. Julie Lassa may have strengths and may be somehow deserving of some kind of loyalty in her immediate area – but this Big Brother type choice of Lassa against Duffy was INSANE. I have no idea what that was about. And yes, the Republican wave was formidable this last time, but then even more heinous for the Party to put Lassa up as the “levee”.

    The woman simply can NOT present well or engage an audience Public-speaking wise. Can Not. She looks like a weak 12 year old girl and that in such sharp contrast to what the area had been used to in Dave Obey.
    As a “product” her champions seemed oddly oblivious to a highly predictable lack of demand for her in this area. I have seen people make remarks about the Hee-haw nature of Northern WI and blame that on the Duffy wuin

    How short the memory that we had kept Obey in a lot of power for many years. Duffy didn’t HAVE to happen. He did because of favorable Rep. conditions totally bolstered by weakness on the Dem side. Both parties have blame when the public is given and Either/Or choice. Do you want Chocolate, or Creamed Peas? The people putting the Peas up against the Chocolate sit around blaming the Chocolate for winning. That’s not always the case, nor is it that simplistic, but too much of the time it plays and enormous part. A part you can’t talk about.

    What goes in interpersonally in the Party skews how a person is ‘ranked” and perceived way too much. Wet dish rags are actively supported while persons who have actual “charisma” are taken aside and informed of the “lay of the land” by party fools.

    If the party folks favor Kreitlow again (and we know they do) there will be “little things” during any primary campaign season that make it more difficult for a Kreitlow challenger, and “little things” that help grease the Kreitlow path.

    So people can flap on all they want about “this is what Democracy looks like’ But they ain’t never gonna want to look to closely in the mirror. There’s a lot of what Democracy DOESN’T look like that would reflect back at them.

    I don’t know anything about Shibilski, but i sure hope he doesn’t suck, and I hope he’s got an iron will because the cards will be stacked against him in the Party Deck.
    In spite of Bill Kraus’ recess claims that redistricting will solve various ills of campaigning, it won’t do a THING about the kinds of situations we have going on behind the scenes.
    Often, they are quite “not nice”. And you never know – would that “eaten” candidate have had more appeal to the public? won against the Republican? But who cares, let’s keep party infrastructure exactly as it is. It’s been working great so far….

    1. One of Julie Lassa’s major campaign mistakes was telling MJS that she would have voted for the Afghanistan war supplemental spending bill that Obey voted against. A lot of us up here were really pissed off about her remarks.

      I hope Kreitlow and Shibilski don’t make the same mistake.

      Polls on US opinion on Afghanistan
      [All taken in 2011]

      -By 73% to 21% Americans say: withdraw a substantial number of U.S.
      combat forces from Afghanistan this summer — ABC/Washington Post

      -By 63% to 30% Americans want complete withdrawal — Bloomberg

      -By 72% to 25% Americans want to speed up the withdrawal — USA Today / Gallup

      -By 53% to 39% Americans say U.S. troops should not be involved in Afghanistan — CBS

      -By 50% to 44% Americans say: remove all troops ASAP — Pew

      -By 64% to 31% Americans say the war has not been worth fighting —
      ABC / Washington Post

      -By 58% to 40% Americans oppose the war — CNN / Opinion Research Corporation

    2. Right on, Annie. The 1st CD suffers from the same problem. Hell, the entire state and national party suffer from the same problem.

  5. It seems pretty clear to me that there WILL be a Democratic Primary in the 7th CD. Kevin Shibilski certainly seems to be laying the groundwork for a run, and given the fact that he can self-fund and won 10 elections up in that neck of the woods, he’ll be a formidable candidate.

  6. Annie, I might be a little pollyannish, but I think things are different now and the insiders are not going to have as much power as they have had in the past.

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