The surprise announcement over the weekend that U.S. Representative Reid Ribble (R-WI) would not seek another term is already generating a great deal of interest from potential candidates for the seat.
At least eight Republicans and one Democrat have publicly said they are interested in running for the job of representing Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District. They include State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), David Steffen (R-Green Bay), John Macco (R-Ledgeview), and Andre Jacque (R-De Pere). Senators Roger Roth (R-Appleton) and Frank Lasee (R-De Pere), along with former state lawmaker Chad Weininger are also reportedly considering a run for the GOP nomination. Former Assembly Democratic leader and current Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson has also said he may consider running.
If Democrats are hoping to pick up a seat in the state’s Congressional delegation, they will likely face a tough battle in the eighth. Lawrence University political science professor Arnold Shober says the district leans much more heavily towards Republican candidates since Democrat Steve Kagen held the seat through 2010. “The chances for a Democrat to take the eighth District are small, but not impossible,” he says.
Shober notes that redistricting in 2011 helped strengthen the area for GOP support, which was reflected in strong wins for Republican Governor Scott Walker during the 2012 recall and his 2014 re-election.
Walker himself has already weighed in on the race, saying during a stop in Appleton Monday that there are several excellent possible candidates. He also singled out former Marine Mike Gallagher, who served as an advisor on Walker’s failed presidential campaign as someone from the private sector who could jump in to the race.
Affiliate WHBY contributed to this report.