It’s been a halfway interesting week. The filing deadline for Wausau City Council candidates was Tuesday and we have nine of 12 seats being contested, with February primaries in four of those. Here is the candidate roundup:
District 1: Jim Rosenberg, Roland “Sonny” Neitzel
District 2: Greg Foye, Romey Wagner, Jay Carlson
District 3: Craig Gardner, Chuck Szalewski, Jonahtan Havel, Matthew Sann
District 4: Jim Brezinski
District 5: Gary Gisselman
District 6: Gary Lee Klingbeil, Edward Marek
District 7: Lisa Rasmussen
District 8: Karen Kellbach, Chris Barr
District 9: Matthew Kaiser, David Overbeck
District 10: David Nutting, Chuck Gering, Dan McMullen
District 11: Sherry Abitz, Debra Weiss, Tom Wohlfahrt
District 12: Ed Gale, Cody VanRyn
I’m not surprised to have an opponent on the city side because that is the rule, rather than the exception. It’s a good district with active participation and in addition to whatever issues are aired during the course of the campaign, I can always use the exercise. (I just hope the sidewalks will be a little less treacherous in the coming months than they seem to be right now.) I’m also not surprised to be running unopposed for the county board, because that is also the rule, rather than the exception. Only four of the 38 seats on the Marathon County Board will feature contested races for April.
Particularly in urban districts, county board seats don’t seem to draw a lot of attention. This is no reflection on the importance of the issues, since the county is often dealing with long-term and sometimes very wrenching issues for which any immediate gratification by way of solutions can be very elusive. It’s a much larger and more complicated organization, with extensive responsibilities. But for whatever reason, it doesn’t capture the attention that city politics “enjoys.” With a dozen years on the Wausau City Council, I’m the longest currently serving elected official by far. At the county, that might take me a third of the way up the seniority chart. In terms of atmosphere, the county board is like the staid and collegial Senate compared to the city council being the rough and tumble House of Representatives. It’s just the way it is.
Hermening going after Decker’s seat
Republican Kevin Hermening announced on Wednesday that he is running for the 29th Senate District seat held by Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker. I had breakfast with him a few weeks ago at the Mint and I think he spent quite a bit of time over the past few months meeting with a lot of different people from all areas of the political spectrum. This will be an interesting race to watch. While polling data for things like this is almost never available to the public, the manner in which funding shows up usually gives some indicators as to whether a particular race is competitive. Simply put, campaigns are expensive and neither party has enough in the way of resources to go all in on races that they don’t have some reason to believe that they have an opportunity to win. There will be a GOP primary in September and I expect Hermening to be able to emerge from that handily, but what happens in November will have a lot to do with some mega factors that will extend far beyond the district or even the state.
Our breakfast was at 6:30 a.m. – a time obviously not chosen by me. “This is why you were a Marine and I was in the Air Force,” I told Kevin. “In the Air Force, we will be happy to fly over in our planes at 10 a.m. and drop some bombs for you — but we’re not sleeping in tents, carrying packs, eating bad food or anything like that, okay?”
If you go to San Francisco…
Every year for at least a decade, I’ve done a travel feature for the annual Get Outta Town issue of City Pages. In honor of the recession, I chose a domestic destination last year (New Orleans) and this year, we go to San Francisco. No matter what I write, there’s never enough room for everything but I try to pick destinations that can be both affordable and stimulating. I won’t say much more about it except that it will be 61 degrees in San Francisco today and they have fresh seafood. It is 16 degrees here right now (and that’s probably going to be the high…)