• WisPolitics


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

 11:59 PM 

Duffy, Lassa emerge in 7th CD

Republican Sean Duffy is betting there's a lot of blue dogs in the 7th CD.

Dem Julie Lassa says she will "shake things up" in D.C.

The northern Wisconsin district has been held with an iron grip by Democrat Dave Obey for more than 40 years. Obey, the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, announced his retirement early this year. Duffy says that puts the seat up for grabs.

"I think in an open race, in this environment, people are ready for a new direction and they're ready for common sense," Duffy, the former DA from Ashland County, told WisPolitics tonight. "Many of them are blue dog Democrats. They believe in personal responsibility and hard work and fiscal responsibility ... These aren't partisan ideas, these are American ideas I'm talking about."

The race has drawn national attention, partly because Duffy was a cast member on MTV's "Real World" reality show in the '90s, but also because many observers see it as a bellwether for GOP prospects to take over control of the House.

Lassa said in her statement that Duffy represents "the same old Washington status quo that has already failed us."

"Whether it’s supporting corporate tax breaks that ship Wisconsin jobs to China or refusing to hold Wall Street and special interests accountable, Sean Duffy represents the wrong direction for Wisconsin," she said.

Duffy says he's looking forward to running against Lassa's record.

"She's trying to run as a conservative now but she can't get away from her record," he said. "We'll talk about that tax and spend record."

The AP called the race for Duffy about two hours after the polls closed. With 78 percent of precincts reporting, Duffy has a 66 percent of the vote, compared to 34 percent for Rudolph farmer Dan Mielke, who was whipped by Obey in 2008.

Duffy says voters responded to his positive campaign that focused on the issues "as opposed to the dirty bombs that were thrown at us by Dan Mielke."

Lassa had an easier walk through the primary. She faced Don Raihala, a real estate company owner from Superior who entered the race at the filing deadline.

Lassa easily beat Raihala 85-15 percent.

While Mielke was viewed by many to be well out of the mainstream, Duffy said he didn't take the challenge lightly.

"Any candidate who works as hard as Dan does, you have to take seriously," Duffy said. "I had an approach that didn't just focus on the primary, but I had a message for the general as well."

-- By Greg Bump

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