Brian Walsh

With the retirement of long-time incumbent David Obey in Wisconsin’s 7th District, Democrats knew they were in for a tough election this fall as liberal state senator Julie Lassa competes against Republican Sean Duffy.  But if you look at recent developments, you can tell the Democrats are getting desperate and see the race slipping away.  Lassa and her Washington allies have launched baseless attacks which have been universally denounced - with even FactCheck.org calling their attempt to distort Sean’s record as a “misfire”.  Overall, their claims were classified as not just false, but “ridiculously so".

The fact that Democrats are trying sink Sean shows that the 7th district is one that Republicans can use to take back the majority in the House.  His message of fiscal responsibility is resonating with constituents and this lumberjack champion is ready to bring the axe to Washington.

Ranked by The Cook Political Report as a “Toss Up” race, this seat has only a D+3 PVI rating and will be tough for Democrats to defend in November.  As the campaign continues to develop over the next month, one thing is clear – Duffy is campaigning hard and is setting up to roll his competition.

Original Piece: Obey Out in Wisconsin

For over 40 years, Dave Obey had a stranglehold on northwest Wisconsin’s Congressional seat. But the political world was rocked on May 5th when Pelosi’s chief spending lieutenant made the surprise announcement that he would retire at the end of his current term.  There is no doubt that the strong grassroots campaign of Sean Duffy played a major role in Obey’s decision.

Long before Obey decided to call it quits, Duffy was running hard to win. This father of six, District Attorney and national lumberjack sports champion proved that he wasn’t a candidate to be taken lightly. Duffy’s message of fiscal responsibility struck a chord with voters, who grew tired of being represented by the architect of the Obama stimulus package. It wasn’t long before the Wall Street Journal and New York Times began to take notice of what was happening in Wisconsin’s northwoods. By April, Duffy had raised over half-a-million dollars, making him the most well-funded Republican ever to challenge Obey. Sensing a real opportunity to take out one the biggest Obama-Pelosi allies, the NRCC launched a TV ad in early April that highlighted Obey’s role in creating booming deficits.

Now that Obey has bowed out of the race, it looks as if Duffy will face state Senator Julie Lassa, the Democrat establishment’s recently handpicked nominee and the one tasked with continuing Obey’s failed economic legacy.  Lassa has indicated that she will try to run on a platform of job creation, but she cannot run away from the fact that Wisconsin has lost 175,000 jobs under her watch as chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee. 

Stretching from Stevens Point in the South to Lake Superior in the North and covering all or parts of 20 counties, the 7th Congressional District, while Democratic, is culturally conservative. Except for the performance of then-candidate Barack Obama, who won this district with 56% of the vote, the results were much more closely divided in the 2000 and 2004 elections. With a top tier candidate like Sean Duffy, and the NRCC’s commitment to taking this seat in November, Republicans will have to momentum to do what has long eluded us: turn this district red.

The voters of WI-07 Congressional District deserve to be unshackled from the continuous loss of jobs and state budget deficits, and most importantly, they deserve to be unshackled from more than 40 years of David Obey and his friends in the Democratic Party.  In 2010 they have an excellent opportunity to take a step toward freedom by electing Sean Duffy to Congress.

You can learn more about Duffy on his website and get updates through Facebook and Twitter


Brian Walsh

Brian Walsh is the Political Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.