The soon-to-be empty seat from Democratic Congressman Dave Obey has Washington DC buzzing with big names coming to the area to drum up support for the party favorites. The two insiders appeared separately in Wausau this month, Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and current Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
During a campaign rally for Former Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy, Gingrich touted Duffy’s courage work ethic and commitment to control spending and cut taxes. “I think you’re going to have clear choice this fall between job killers and job creators.” Gingrich also called Democratic State Senator Julie Lassa, also running for the 7th CD, Obey’s “protégé.”
Obey is an architect of the federal stimulus plan, a bill Republicans have criticized.
But Democrats look to Obey’s record as a virtue. At a private fundraiser for Lassa, Hoyer said, “She’s going to be an extraordinarily good successor to an extraordinary member of Congress.” The Democratic leader plugged Lassa’s record as a chief author of the Wisconsin Core Jobs Act, which he claims created 600 jobs.
UW-Marathon County political scientist Eric Giordano said the DC insiders fired up party line voters but on-the-fence voters will decide who gets in, “It’s not going to be just about the bases its going to be ‘can we get the undecided middle to swing this way, or swing that way?”
Lassa and Duffy each face one challenger in the September primary. Analysts predict more Washington insiders to come calling since the seat is up for grabs for the first time in four decades.