So why are two candidates for the 8th District seat traveling to fundraisers in Washington, D.C., almost 700 miles away? It's certainly not because district voters are there. Or because people on the East Coast give a hoot about what goes on in Northeastern Wisconsin.
No, the stakes in this year's 8th District race have nothing to do with electing the best candidate to represent district residents. It's all about national politics and which political party will be in power when the November election is over.
That's why Republican hopeful John Gard, speaker of the state Assembly, was able to raise cash for his Wisconsin congressional campaign at a $1,000-a-plate Washington dinner. The high-end feed on Tuesday was at the Finemondo restaurant on F Street NW — within walking distance of the powerful K Street lobbyists and business trade associations that dump millions of dollars into federal elections to gain access to members of Congress. Some obviously think Gard has potential.
In fact, Vice President Dick Cheney will be in the Green Bay area in March to raise cash for Gard. It would be silly to believe Cheney cares about Northeastern Wisconsin. What he does care about is the Republicans holding onto the seat that Mark Green is vacating to run for governor.
In the piece Gard is quoted as saying that the 8th Congressional District race is the “centerpiece campaign in the nation.” Gard also says that “We call this Ground Zero in the battle for the house.” To which the Green Bay Press Gazette responds:
No, John, first and foremost this is an election to choose the most qualified person to represent more than 670,000 Wisconsin residents in the United States House of Representatives.
You mean that if he is elected, John Gard should be representing the people of the 8th District? But what about all of those poor and needy party bosses and K Street lobbyists? If Gard is elected, it looks like we can look forward to more of the same from that seat.