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Posts tagged with “Sean Duffy”

DPW’s Still Missing Obey

So much so, that it’s the focus of a two-page article at Politico. Most of it insane quotes from DPW’s resident punk Mike Tate — the Chair-Boy Blunder — one begins to wonder how he maintains all the hatred and venom with all that’s on his plate.

There are 87 freshmen in the new class of House Republicans, but Democrats are singling out one for particularly rough treatment: Rep. Sean Duffy.

Both in Washington and in his home state of Wisconsin, Democrats have drawn a bead on the reality-TV-star-turned-Ashland-County-district-attorney-turned-congressman, determined to portray him as a superficial ideologue who’s not ready for primetime. The anti-Duffy effort has picked up in recent weeks as his foes have sought to link him to the controversy surrounding GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees.

Democrats openly acknowledge that their attacks are, in no small part, aimed at knocking the ambitious 39-year-old conservative down a peg and say they want to make sure his northwest Wisconsin House seat doesn’t turn into a launching pad for a future statewide bid. Democratic operatives are privately pledging to wage an aggressive 2012 campaign for his seat and have started floating the names of several potential challengers.

“It’s hard to be a rising star if you’re a one-term congressman, which I think he’s going to be,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate, who has helped direct the anti-Duffy offensive.

That’s sure some offensive. Makes you think they have a guy or two ready in the wings to take Duffy on in 2012. But actuality, they’re probably going through what a lot of Republicans — myself included — had with Steve Kagen. The idea the man who replaced “A Legend” or “Good Man” isn’t worthy of filling his shoes.

And let’s be honest with ourselves, Steve Kagen was a chump compared to Mark Green.  As for any similar comparison of Duffy to Kagen, I think we can stop there.  Obey was a cantankerous, old man who never seemed to like anyone.

I for one will never understand how state Democrats held that in a place of high honor.

Frankly, in my opinion, what really irks Tate and Graeme down in Madison about Duffy is this simple fact: Duffy forced Obey’s retirement.

“Duffy pushes their buttons; he’s a little bit of a threat to them,” said Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political scientist. “Democrats are trying to turn him into a one-term congressman before he’s able to become more entrenched.”

One reason for the special attention is that Democrats are seeking to reverse what party officials see as a disturbing trend: Republicans gaining traction in northwest Wisconsin — traditionally a Democratic-leaning area, where former Democratic Rep. Dave Obey, the powerful longtime Appropriations Committee chairman, served for 41 years. On Election Day, in addition to Duffy’s victory, Republicans won three state Assembly seats and two state Senate seats in the area.

“They are just astonished that a Republican could be as strong as Sean Duffy is in northern Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin Republican Party Executive Director Mark Jefferson. “They just feel like if they don’t do something, he’s going to take a toehold.”

“They believe it’s a seat they should hold,” noted Darrin Schmitz, a Madison-based GOP consultant who advises Duffy. “He won a seat Democrats held for many years, and it’s a seat Democrats think they should occupy.”

There’s also a personal dimension to the Duffy drama. Democrats concede that they feel a deep animus toward him born of the notion that the former reality-TV star is simply unfit to succeed a congressional titan like Obey.

“He is a bit of a Hollywood guy who does not fit in that part of the state,” said Tate. “This is a guy who appeared on ‘The Real World.’ He met his wife on ‘Real World/Road Rules.’”

He’s also the guy who made a deal with said wife that if she didn’t get the co-hosting job of “The View” (it went to Elisabeth Hasselback, though Rachel was the other finalist) they would move to Wisconsin and live their life there, raise their kids there, and be happy there.

Last I checked, there’s nothing “Hollywood” about that.

The political reality about WI-07 now, and Democrats know this as much as anyone else, is that Congressional redistricting will make it more Republican-leaning.  DPW and Tate are trying to poison the well, which is fine and expected.  The problem with such a strategy is Duffy is such a likeable, charismatic guy, that the Democrat who comes out of that primary (And there will be a primary this time) will be a raving caricature of rage.

I hear Nick Milroy might be willing to fill that role to a “T.”

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Why Wisconsin GOPers Backs Reince for Chair

Freshly sworn-in Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Ashland) says it all. (H/T Politico)

The RNC Winter Meetings kick off today and will culminate on Friday with the Chairman’s election.

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“Duffy Recipient of Underage Slave Labor”

Oh, I’m sorry.  Somehow I had gotten a look at what was on the desk of Mike Tate and Graeme Zielinski over at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin when they got a view of this video on YouTube.

I mean, they have to spin it bad for Duffy somehow, right?  We can’t have 14 year old boys — out of the sheer goodness of their heart and in the name of being neighborly — cutting the Duffy family lawn for free so Sean can get extra time on the campaign, can we?

That’s just not right!

…and why isn’t some kid in Stevens Point doing that for Lassa on YouTube…right now?!?

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Obey to Retire

Yeah, I’m late to the party on this.

Bone-tired and facing a tough political landscape at home, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey announced Wednesday that he won’t seek re-election, ending a 41-year House career stamped by his unique talent and tempestuousness.

Rarely does a committee chairman of such power just walk away, and Obey’s decision is both a blow to Democrats and marks the passing of one of the last major leaders of the 1970’s reforms that reshaped the modern House.

“I am ready to turn the page, and frankly, I think that my district is ready for someone new to make a fresh start,” Obey said in an afternoon press conference in his committee’s meeting room.

Despite poor polls at home, he insisted that could win re-election in November but admitted he feared another reapportionment fight in the next Congress and a shift in the public mood against the aggressive public investments which have been his trademark.

“I do not want to be the position as chairman of the Appropriations Committee of producing and defending lowest common denominator legislation that is inadequate to that task,” Obey said, “And given the mood of the country, that is what I would have to do if I stayed.”

The chairman’s retirement is not entirely a surprise, but as of late Tuesday night, Obey’s staff had insisted he was running aggressively and had hired campaign staff. Only Wednesday morning did a person close to him confirm to POLITICO that he was leaving, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was only informed then as well.

Let’s state the obvious here: This is huge news in Wisconsin, no matter what your political alignment.  Obey was a fixture (an angry, firebrand of a fixture) for over forty years and it will feel odd with him not being there.  It is odder still that he’s retiring, just like that.  A part of me always felt the only way David Obey was leaving Congress was in a pine box.

Let’s go over the basics of this new paradigm in Wisconsin politics shall we.

1) Mike Tate, please go change your pants.  No one will blame you if you need to.

Makes you wonder if the wunderkind best known for false robo-calls to the elderly was expecting both Doyle and Obey to step aside in 2010 when he was anointed last summer.

2) Duffy Campaign take the victory lap, you’ve earned it.

I honestly grew to believe as this campaign between Duffy was gearing up, that Obey had forgotten how to campaign over the years.  Then add in the new modern environment of campaigns with websites, blogs, social networking, and the like and you wonder how he was going to handle it all.  My friend Patrick Ruffini (a Duffy campaign consultant for his website and new media) told me at CPAC that the Obey campaign had finally set up its first campaign website in January and that prior to this cycle, Obey had never felt the need to put one up.

That fact alone, if true from what Ruffini told me, was itself telling.

3) If you know who the Democrats are going to run in Obey’s stead, please call me.

Going through the number of Democrats in the 7th, I look at who not only could run, but could win.  Logically, since he’s coveted the seat for years, State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Schofield) would make sense…if it weren’t this year.  Now he’s got baggage from this past legislative session — $5 Billion in new taxes for starters — that would give off a stink and it will effect not only him, but all legislators from Northern Wisconsin as well.

My early guess of who runs? A mayor or village president from the district.

One does wonder if they’ll be a primary up there …

Democrats in the 7th — hell the entire state — are dealing with the loss of their Godfather.  It’s going to be odd to see once the grieving process is over.

4) Kagen Must Really Be Scared Now.

Admittedly, this demand by Marc Savard for Kagen to follow Obey’s lead and resign from Congress is about the dumbest thing I’ve read today, but the adding on from a number of 8th Congressional campaigns (WisPolitics links to press releases by Trager and Ribble) is just a reminder to Kagen that it’s going to be a tough year for Democrats on the Congressional level.

When you have Dave Obey bailing on re-election, what does it say about Kagen’s chances?

5) Duffy’s the Front-Runner.

That’s pretty much assumed at this moment by everyone, and it will be interesting to see what the various political handicappers (Cook, CQ, Rothenberg) now list WI-07 by the end of the week.  For now, Duffy has the cash, the name exposure, the good mojo, a new baby, and the Democrats are searching for a candidate or two to raise money for.

Not a bad month.

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Obey Polls His District, Doesn’t Release Findings

Interesting little tidbit pointed out by Reid Wilson at the Hotline.

Amid a turbulent political climate, many Dem members of Congress held off polling their districts during the first quarter, hoping to get a more accurate look at the landscape before they begin their ’10 campaigns in earnest.

Pollsters and House Dem leaders have warned incumbents that results they received during the height of the health care debate would not present an accurate picture of the electorate. While benchmark polls are usually taken early in the cycle, FEC reports show most of the Dem caucus took that advice.

Tellingly, those who decided to poll anyway have not released results, suggesting those polls show them performing poorly against their potential or generic GOP rivals.

The list of incumbents who polled their districts includes both vulnerable freshmen, like Reps. Debbie Halvorson (D-IL) and Harry Teague (D-NM), and entrenched incumbents, like Reps. David Obey (D-WI) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND).

None of the half dozen Dems who appear to have polled last quarter released their results. Halvorson, who spent $17.5K at the Dem polling firm Anzalone Liszt on Feb. 10, denied through a spokesman that her campaign had even paid for the poll. It was, the spokesman said, payment for past polling expenses.

Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) has spent the most on polling this cycle, blowing through $42K for 2 surveys conducted by Cooper Secrest Associates. Donnelly’s campaign declined to comment on his poll results. Meanwhile, Obey spent $30K for a Feb. poll conducted by Hart Research Associates, the well-regarded Dem firm, and Pomeroy spent another $20K there for a Jan. poll.

Admittedly, a poll done in February on an election year is useless when it comes to the what’s going to happen in November.  But the simple fact Obey has polled this early in the cycle shows he’s clearly worried by the campaign Ashland County DA Sean Duffy has put against him.  It doesn’t indicate Obey’s going to lose; it just showed he’s worried about this fall.

Also explains the tone coming from Democratic Party of Wisconsin in press releases against the Duffy Campaign.  Word of free advice to the Duffy Campaign…ignore Mike Tate.  The guy’s full of it and only wants the reaction out of you.

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Duffy Money Bomb for Tomorrow

We’ll be 15 days from the end of the fourth fund raising quarter of 2009 and this isn’t a bad idea for someone like Sean Duffy who is seeing a lot of support in the online conservative community.  In fact, he made a plea for the money bomb on Redstate.com this week using this video.

Last quarter Duffy raised over $140,000 in his first full quarter of fund raising.

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NRCC to Candidates: Prove Yourselves Worthy!

Actual, given the likelihood that donations next year will be less because of the economy, this isn’t the most outrageous news the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) could come out with.  Less money means they’ll have to be picky with who they help out in General Election contests.  Candidates should be able to show they are worth the

Candidates hoping for financial help from the National Republican Congressional Committee will have to prove they’re worth the investment.

The NRCC will only spend money on independent expenditure ads hitting Democrats if the Republican in the race has qualified as a top-tier member of the “Young Guns” program, a party spokesman tells The Hill.

Young Guns is a three-tiered program aimed at recruiting and improving top-notch candidates, the GOP’s answer to Democrats’ successful “Red to Blue” program. Candidates begin as “On the Radar” prospects before advancing to “Contenders.” If they meet certain benchmarks laid out by the NRCC, they become Young Guns.

So far, nine candidates have made it to the Contender tier. Thirty-eight candidates have achieved On the Radar status. None have made it to Young Guns level.

Paul Lindsay, an NRCC spokesman, declined to specify what the benchmarks for achieving the top status are, citing a policy against discussing internal strategy. But members of the different tiers will be judged on fundraising, grassroots and communications bars they have to meet.

Membership in the Young Guns does not guarantee the NRCC will spend money in the race, but the party will not spend money for members who do not reach the highest tier. Typically, the NRCC begins its financial relationship with a candidate by spending up to $87,300 in coordinated funds before moving on to independent expenditures.

In Wisconsin, the only members who so far have qualified made it into the lowest tier of the “Young Guns” programs are Sean Duffy in WI-07, Dan Kapanke in WI-03, and Reid Ribble in WI-08.  Given the primary field line-ups, expect to see the NRCC involved in Kapanke’s race more at this level since he’s the only declared Republican in WI-03 against Ron Kind; the other candidates have primaries.

What will be interesting to see is who else — especially in WI-08 — is added to the “Young Guns” programs.  With the possibility of a 6 or 7-way primary fight, the edge is going to go to the self-financing candidates and established political entities because much of the money will be on the sidelines until the general election.  Another factor will be who drops out as other candidates jump in.  One question I wonder is will Kerry Thomas, who still spends his time thinking John Gard tried to destroy Terri McCormick on multiple levels in 2006, get out if McCormick does get in as is rumored.

Time will tell; we’re just at the part of the game where pieces are being put on the chess board.  No one’s made any opening moves; though some press releases trashing Kagen’s votes on multiple fronts would be nice to see.

The lack of them is making me wonder how much of an amateur hour are we going to see next year.

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Duffy Campaign Web Ad: “So What?”

Great web attack ad by the Sean Duffy campaign regarding Dave Obey’s initial reactions to critics of the stimulus, its oversight, and what its [not] been accomplishing since then.


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Duffy Raises $140,000 in Q3 of 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, we might just indeed have a race up there in the Northwoods.

Sean Duffy, the leading Republican candidate challenging Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), will report a fundraising total of $140,000, with $120,000 cash on hand, for the third quarter of 2009. I talked with the candidate today, keying off NRCC Chairman and Rep. Pete Sessions’s (R-Texas) prediction that Obey — who is seeking a 21st term in 2010 — would face a “tier one” challenge.

“I’ve got more $5 and $10 checks than you can shake a stick at,” said Duffy.

In 2008, Obey raised $1.6 million and handily defeated GOP candidate Dan Mielke, who raised only $92,501. The news that Duffy has already out-paced the party’s last Obey challenger is going to keep this race in the party’s sights — if a backlash to the economic stimulus package could strike anyone, it would be the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The Duffy for Congress blog have more details on their quarterly haul.

The Duffy for Congress campaign ended the fundraising period with more than $120,000 cash-on-hand and amassing 516 donors.  Roughly 75 percent of the donors to the campaign have contributed $100 or less – a demonstration of the grassroots support the prosecutor enjoys across the 7th Congressional District.


Duffy noted that 85 percent of his fundraising totals came from Wisconsin donors.  According to Center for Responsive Politics, as of the June 30 finance report roughly 83 percent of Rep. Obey’s donors are from outside Wisconsin and nearly 50 percent of his contributions came from special interest groups.

The Duffy FEC report has yet to be posted online, likely it either hasn’t been fully-submitted or the FEC is swamped this time of the filing period.  The campaign has until tomorrow to ensure they are filed properly with the Federal Elections Commission.

This is very, very huge news.  Not only does it show the Duffy Campaign is a viable entity early on, but it complicates Democratic plans to defend their House Majority.  As a Committee Chair with as long a time in Congress as he does, traditionally guys like David Obey are to use their positions to raise money and then spread it across the rest of the caucus, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and other seats seen as ‘threatened.’

If he is seen as having his own troubles, that means more of the Obey war chest must be used for himself, not other Democrats.  It’s an age-old strategy in politics; keep the leader busy so they can’t help others.  Assembly Democrats have used it the past two cycles with much success (obviously) under Mark Pocan.

Traditionally, such a strategy helps expand the numbers of the challenging party since the legislative leader is strong enough to carry his district on his own.  It’s very possibly this cycle Sean Duffy might be able to do to David Obey what George Nethercutt did to Tom Foley in 1994, knock off a well-entrenched 40-year incumbent.

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Duffy Runs for 7th Congressional District

Stolen from Red State after it was promoted from Duffy’s own RS Diary by my friend Brian Faughnan (His take in italics.).

Sean Duffy seems like an excellent candidate in a swing seat. That’s right – the seat held by Obey leans only marginally toward the Democrats. Duffy is the sort of bright, young candidate who can give America’s spender-in-chief a serious challenge.

Today, I’m announcing that I’m a candidate for Congress in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional district. I’m challenging Congress’s leading spender, David Obey. We have a chance to make history in the 7th in 2010, but I can only do it with your help. I hope you’ll start by joining our team at DuffyforCongress.com.

First, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself.

For the last seven years, I’ve been the District Attorney of Ashland County, and I’m proud of my over 90 percent trial success rate. I was raised in Hayward. Rachel and I are proud to be raising our five kids in Northern Wisconsin – because there’s no better place to raise a family than in the great state of Wisconsin.

I’m running for Congress because I think it’s time for new voices and new leadership in Washington. For more than 200 years our country has prospered under the philosophy that the individual – not the government – is the engine of American prosperity. That small businesses and dedicated workers – not government agencies and bureaucrats – generate economic growth and wealth. And yet, in response to the current financial crisis, our leaders in Washington have put their faith, not in the American people, but in the government. My speech to an April 15th Tea Party in Madison sums up my commitment to fiscal responsibility:

Under the direction of politicians like David Obey, our government is doing things our founding fathers never intended for it to do. For the first time in our country’s history, the federal government is taking over private companies like GM and AIG and putting bureaucrats in charge of business decisions.

Last February, Members of Congress voted to spend almost $800 billion of our money in a stimulus bill that many of them didn’t even read – and how could they? They had less than 24 hours to read over 1000 pages of legislation. But David Obey did read the bill. Not only did he read the bill – he wrote the bill. That’s right, he is the author of that pork-filled stimulus package.

Of course, Washington tells us that the stimulus, the bailouts and budget increases are temporary, “emergency” spending. That once the economy recovers, we’ll go on a financial diet. But I’ve never heard of a government program that retired itself, or a bureaucrat that said, “Well, we’ve accomplished our goal – thanks, taxpayers – now we’re going home.” Have you? They will only shut their doors when we send representatives to Washington who will do it for them!

It’s time to bring fiscal sanity to Washington, and the only way that’s going to happen is for hard-working people, people who know what it’s like to balance a family budget, to decide it’s time for a change. I’m one of those people. That’s why I’m running for Congress, and that’s why I need your support.

Please share your thoughts with me in the comments. I look forward to coming back here, reading them all, and weighing in. And don’t forget to join the conversation on our blog at DuffyforCongress.com, or follow me (@Duffy4Congress) on Twitter. I look forward to working with you to retire David Obey and bring real change to the 7th district.

Does Duffy have a chance?

Maybe, the district is marginally-Democratic…on the Presidential level.  However, for nearly 40 years, Obey has made the district into an economic wasteland where the seemingly only form of economic development is pork he brings to the area.  Because of that, Duffy will have a hard row to hoe when it comes to having unseat the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

But I wish Duffy the best in what could be a sleeper of a race.  I also like this opening quote from a Superior, WI television station.

“Obey has power, he has influence, and he has money. But those things don’t vote– people vote,” Duffy said. “And I’m going to go out there with a message and talk to people.”

Best wishes to both Sean and his lovely wife Rachel Campos-Duffy.  One things for sure, I doubt the two of them will be out-campaigned by Obey.  Having briefly met the pair in 2005 at the GOP Convention in Sheboygan – Duffy introduced J.B. Van Hollen if memory serves – you can tell the man has the energy, drive, and charisma for the road ahead.

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