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Friday, April 1, 2016

 4:41 PM 

Nelson reconsidering 8th CD bid, according to Dem sources

Thomas Nelson is again looking at a bid for the open 8th CD, and a decision could come within days, several Dem sources tell WisPolitics.com.

As recently as a month ago, it was considered unlikely Nelson, the former Assembly majority leader and current Outagamie County exec, would run for the northeastern Wisconsin district being vacated by GOP U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble.

But the Dem sources said the DCCC and others have been pushing Nelson to reconsider, believing he's the party's strongest candidate for the race.

Nelson, who didn't return a call today seeking comment, acknowledged earlier this year he would consider a run for the 8th.

But his wife recently gave birth to their second child, and insiders considered that a significant reason to believe Nelson wouldn't run.

Still, a congressional bid could have its drawbacks, some strategists add. Nelson is considered a possible Dem gubernatorial candidate in 2018. Losing a congressional bid this fall could weaken his position to run, some believe. What's more, should he run and win the 8th, it could prove difficult to turn around a year later and launch a bid for governor.

Dems also said today Nelson must weigh the difficulty he would face in keeping the seat in 2018 when the 8th would likely see a much more Republican lean than in presidential years.

Already, two Republicans have announced their intention to run for the seat: state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and Michael Gallagher, a former aide to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former foreign policy adviser to Gov. Scott Walker's brief presidential campaign.

Other Dems who have looked to run for Ribble's seat include: former state Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber and Door County restaurateur Lars Johnson. But Nelson is considered the stronger candidate, Dems say, because of his strong campaign work ethic, experience in fundraising and his position as county exec.

-- By JR Ross


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