Empower Wisconsin | Sept. 11, 2019
By M.D. Kittle — The battle for Trump Country began in earnest Tuesday.
State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) became the first candidate to announce his campaign for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District, a Republican stronghold that helped Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election and turn the Badger State from blue to red for the first time since 1984.
“I’m running for Congress to be the ally President Trump needs to keep moving our country forward,” Tiffany said in a press release.
Trump certainly had a friend in U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-) who last month announced he is stepping down after serving the 7th since 2011. Duffy has won his last two races by better than 60 percent of the vote.
The district, covering a wide swath of northern Wisconsin, includes 20 counties and portions of four others. It gave Republican Trump a significant win — 57 percent to 37 percent — over his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton.
The 7th is one of 108 congressional districts that intersected with what Ballotpedia describes as Pivot Counties, those that voted for Trump in 2016 after voting for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Such districts will be vital to Trump if he hopes to win again next year.
Mike Cady, a member of the Republican Party of Vilas County, said the congressional district will do its part to keep Wisconsin red in the presidential election.
“I think we will be fired up,” the Arbor Vitae resident told Empower Wisconsin in an interview Tuesday.
“Seems to me people up here are shaking their heads at Democrats.”
The latest Marquette Law School Poll, however, shows former Vice President Joe Biden, the top-polling Democrat in the presidential campaign field, running 9 percentage points ahead of Trump in Wisconsin. Trump trails Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) by 4 points, and is even with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
High turnout in Trump country, regions like the 7th Congressional District, will be critical if Republicans hope for a repeat performance in 2020.
Tiffany jumped in first, but other Republicans are weighing a run — including state Rep. Romaine Quinn, of Barron, and Wausau surgeon Fernando “Fritz” Riveron. Some news outlets have reported that Jason Church, an Army vet and U.S. Sen, Ron Johnson’s northwest region director, is exploring the possibility of a run.
Conservative activist Luke Hilgemann decided not to run, and said he will back Tiffany. State Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) also announced he will not seek the seat.
Democrats considering a run include state Sen. Janet Bewely, of Mason, Sen. Pat Kreitlow, of Chippewa Falls, state Rep. Nick Milroy, of South Range, and Wausau attorney Christine Bremer Muggli.
Democratic Gov. Tony
Evers has not said when he will call a special election for Duffy’s seat.