Competitive Congressional District Gears Up For Primary Race | Wisconsin Public Television

Competitive Congressional District Gears Up For Primary Race

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Premiere Date: 
August 5, 2016

Competitive Congressional District Gears Up For Primary Race

Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wisc., is not seeking reelection in the 8th congressional district. Republicans vying for the seat are state Sen. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, Mike Gallagher, a former U.S. Marine who then worked on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Village of Forestville President Terry McNulty. Running uncontested for the Democratic nomination is Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

Episode Transcript

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

PRIMARY ELECTION DAY IS LESS THAN FIVE DAYS AWAY AND IN THE 8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN NORTHEAST WISCONSIN THERE'S A THREE-WAY RACE AMONG REPUBLICANS ALL VYING TO REPLACE REID RIBBLE WHO IS NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION. THE RACE PITS STATE SENATOR FRANK LASEE, MIKE GALLAGHER WHO SAYS RIBBLE'S ENDORSEMENT AND TERRY MCNULTY AGAINST EACH OTHER. FRANK LASEE IS ATTENDING TONIGHT'S TRUMP RALLY, AS IS TERRY MCNULTY, WHO SAYS THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN CALLED THIS MORNING OFFERING HIM VIP SEATS. MIKE GALLAGHER WILL NOT ATTEND. WHILE THE THREE HOLD MANY OF THE SAME CONSERVATIVE VIEWS, THEY COME FROM DIFFERENT PLACES, AND WHEN TALKING WITH THEM, EACH BELIEVED THEIR BACKGROUNDS GIVE THEM THE EDGE.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

IN THE FINAL STRETCH BEFORE PRIMARY ELECTION DAY, SUMMER BRINGS FAIRS, PARADES AND THE CHANCE FOR CANDIDATES TO MIX IT UP WITH LOTS OF POTENTIAL VOTERS.

MIKE GALLAGHER:

HI, FOLKS. HOW YOU DOING?

TERRY MCNULTY:

I'M THAT GUY RUNNING FOR CONGRESS.

FRANK LASEE:

I'M FRANK LASEE. I'D LIKE TO WORK FOR YOU AS YOUR CONGRESSMAN.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

THE PRIMARY CANDIDATES FOR THE OPEN 8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT SEAT INCLUDE A STATE SENATOR, A PH.D. FORMER U.S. MARINE AND A VILLAGE PRESIDENT.

FRANK LASEE:

I'M A PROVEN CONSERVATIVE WHO HAS A TRACK RECORD AND SO MANY TIMES IN THE PAST I'VE SEEN PEOPLE RUN FOR OFFICE, SAY WHATEVER THEY WANT, AND THEY CAN BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO RECORD.

MIKE GALLAGHER:

I'M NOT A CAREER POLITICIAN. THIS IS MY FIRST RUN FOR OFFICE. I'M NOT SOMEONE WHO'S DOING THIS AS A STEPPING-STONE. IT'S ABOUT SERVICE AND I INTEND TO TREAT IT LIKE A DEPLOYMENT, NOT LIKE A CAREER.

TERRY MCNULTY:

I AM A WORKING GUY. I WAS OUT WORKING THIS MORNING, AS YOU KNOW. I'M A SMALL BUSINESSMAN. I'M WAS A CAREER MILITARY GUY. I'M A FAMILY GUY. IT'S NOT ALWAYS BEEN EASY FOR ME.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

ACCORDING TO UW GREEN BAY POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR AARON WEINSCHENK, THIS RACE IN THIS SWING DISTRICT HAS EVERYONE WATCHING.

AARON WEINSCHENK:

THE RESULTS FLIP AROUND FROM ELECTION TO ELECTION. YOU SEE DEMOCRATS WINNING SOMETIMES, REPUBLICANS WINNING SOMETIMES. I THINK THAT'S WHY YOU'RE SEEING SO MUCH ATTENTION ON THIS RACE. IT'S EVEN ON NATIONAL LISTS AS AN IMPORTANT RACE TO PAY ATTENTION TO. AND IT'S BECAUSE IT'S UP FOR GRABS, BECAUSE IT'S NOT A SOLIDLY DEMOCRATIC OR SOLIDLY REPUBLICAN DISTRICT.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

AND SO REPUBLICANS HAVE TO KEEP ONE EYE ON THE GENERAL ELECTION WHILE WORKING TO EMERGE VICTORIOUS FROM THE PRIMARY. IN THE MONEY RACE, MIKE GALLAGHER STANDS APART, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS OF MORE THAN $922,000, ACCORDING TO THE LATEST CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS. FRANK LASEE SHOWS $310,500 AND TERRY MCNULTY WITH ABOUT $7200.

TERRY MCNULTY:

MIKE WON THE MONEY GAME ALL RIGHT. AND FRANK SAYS I'M A NICE GUY BUT DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

DAUNTING AS THAT MAY BE IN A CLOSELY WATCHED CONTEST, MCNULTY PRESSES ON.

TERRY MCNULTY:

I DON'T TRUST A CAREER POLITICIAN OR A WASHINGTON D.C. GUY TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT. I THINK THIS COUNTRY'S AT A TIPPING POINT. WE GOT REAL PROBLEMS. AND A LOT OF THEM ARE REALLY FISCAL PROBLEMS. AND I DO A GOOD JOB OF THAT HERE IN THE VILLAGE OF FORESTVILLE.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

FOR FRANK LASEE, ONE ISSUE OVERSHADOWS ALL THE OTHERS.

FRANK LASEE:

OUR COUNTRY HAS BEEN HEADING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION FOR A VERY LONG TIME. WE HAVE A NATIONAL DEBT OF $19 TRILLION. WE'RE SPENDING $600 BILLION MORE THAN WE'RE TAKING IN THIS YEAR. AND THIS DEBT ISSUE WILL CROWD OUT MILITARY SPENDING, SAFETY SPENDING, SOCIAL SECURITY. IT'S GOING TO CROWD OUT EVERYTHING IN THE FUTURE. I'M VERY CONCERNED IT'LL GET TO BE $30, $40, $50, $100 TRILLION. NO ONE SEEMS TO WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT OR PUT A STOP TO IT.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

ON THAT SCORE, MIKE GALLAGHER, WITH HIS BACKGROUND IN HIGH-RANKING MILITARY INTELLIGENCE, AGREES, OFFERING THAT NO NATION HAS MAINTAINED ITS MILITARY POWER WHILE FAILING TO GET ITS FISCAL HOUSE IN ORDER. GALLAGHER EMPHASIZES THE THREAT OF TERRORISM.

MIKE GALLAGHER:

WE'VE ALLOWED A TERRORIST STATE TO BE CARVED OUT IN THE HEART OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND TO IT HAS FLOCKED 38,000 FOREIGN FIGHTERS. 6,000 OF WHICH HAVE EUROPEAN PASSPORTS. WE'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS. IT'S WORSE THAN AFGHANISTAN IN THE '70s AND '80s. AS PETRAEUS TESTIFIED LAST YEAR, THE MIDDLE EAST IS NOT LAS VEGAS. WHAT HAPPENED THERE WON'T STAY THERE. WE'RE SEEING INCIDENTS OF DOMESTIC RADICALIZATION POP UP IN ALL 50 STATES.

DONALD TRUMP:

ISIS HAS SPREAD ACROSS THE REGION AND THE ENTIRE WORLD.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET, DONALD TRUMP HAS VOICED THE FEAR OF TERRORISM LOUD AND CLEAR, BUT ALSO FOUND HIMSELF MIRED IN CONTROVERSY. THOSE RUNNING IN THIS GOP CONGRESSIONAL UNDERCARD ACKNOWLEDGE THE TENSION OF RUNNING THEIR OWN RACE WHILE WATCHING THEIR PARTIES' PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE RUN HIS.

MIKE GALLAGHER:

AT THE VERY LEAST, HE RECOGNIZES WE'RE A COUNTRY AT WAR. AND THAT WE HAVE TO WIN THAT WAR. THAT IS GOOD INSTINCTS.

FRANK LASEE:

HE'S A VERY BRIGHT MAN ACTUALLY. HE IS SOMEWHAT OBNOXIOUS OFTEN, BUT HE IS ALSO A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL INDIVIDUAL AND OUR COUNTRY NEEDS SUCCESS RIGHT NOW.

TERRY MCNULTY:

WE HAVE TO MAKE HIM BE PRESIDENT. I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO COME OUT. DONALD WILL TELL YOU HE BROUGHT A RECORD NUMBER OF VOTERS TO THE PRIMARY FOR PRESIDENTIAL. I SURE HOPE THOSE PEOPLE FOLLOW HIM HERE IN THE FALL.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

TURNOUT FOR PRIMARY ELECTION DAY NEXT TUESDAY, AUGUST 9 IS PROJECTED AT ABOUT 16%. ALSO RUNNING FOR CONGRESS IN THE 8TH DISTRICT IS DEMOCRATIC TOM NELSON, WHO FACES NO PRIMARY CHALLENGER. HE WILL FACE THE WINNER OF THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN THE GENERAL ELECTION. NELSON IS OUTAGAMIE COUNTY EXECUTIVE AND FORMERLY A STATE LEGISLATOR.

TOM NELSON:

HOW YOU DOING?

TEEN:

GOOD.

TOM NELSON:

SO YOU HAD SOME AWARD-WINNING ANIMALS THIS YEAR?

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

TOM NELSON SAYS HE WOULD BRING THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING A LOCAL NONPARTISAN ELECTED OFFICIAL TO HELP HIM WORK ACROSS THE AISLE IN CONGRESS. HE SAYS HE WOULD REJECT BAD TRADE DEALS THAT HAVE HURT NORTHEAST WISCONSIN MANUFACTURING JOBS. HE CALLS THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE IN THE DISTRICT.

TOM NELSON:

SO I THINK THOSE CORE ECONOMIC BREAD AND BUTTER ISSUES, WHETHER THEY'RE ISSUES OF TRADE. WE NEED TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THERE IS PAID MEDICAL LEAVE BECAUSE FAMILIES CAN'T AFFORD TAKING TIME OFF THEIR WORK TO CARE FOR A CHILD OR TO CARE FOR A LOVED ONE. THERE ARE ABOUT 150,000 SSI RECIPIENTS HERE IN NORTHEAST WISCONSIN. SOCIAL SECURITY HAS CONSISTENTLY BEEN A REALLY BIG ISSUE. WE HAVE TO RESIST ANY EFFORT, ANY AND ALL EFFORTS TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY. THAT WOULD BE AN ABSOLUTE DISASTER.

FREDERICA FREYBERG:

YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ALL OF THE CANDIDATES BY GOING TO wisconsinvote.org.

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