Republicans dish at Lincoln Day luncheon

Barker's Island Inn was bustling with Republican candidates seeking state and national offices on Saturday. Nearly a dozen candidates addressed about 100 people as the Douglas County Republican Party hosted its annual Lincoln Day luncheon. Candid...

Barker's Island Inn was bustling with Republican candidates seeking state and national offices on Saturday.

Nearly a dozen candidates addressed about 100 people as the Douglas County Republican Party hosted its annual Lincoln Day luncheon. Candidates included Republicans seeking seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the state governor and lieutenant governor, senate, secretary of state and Wisconsin's sitting attorney general.

House and senate

Two candidates have thrown their hat in the ring for the seats long held by U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat.

Republicans David Westlake and Terrance Wall are challenging the 18-year incumbent for a seat in the U.S. Senate.


Westlake, a former cadet and commissioned officer at West Point and small business owner in Watertown, Wis., said his campaign is about getting back to basics and cutting out government waste.

"It's harder to find a job today than ever before in almost country," Westlake said. "And because they spent nearly $1 trillion of our money, they say we're in some sort of recovery ... it's all about accountability."

Wall, founder and owner of T. Wall Properties, said his priority as a business man has been working with the small businesses in Wisconsin, businesses that are being creamed by too many rules, regulations and taxes in a tough economy.

"I can tell you in 18 weeks I will do more for you in the U.S. Senate than Russ Feingold has done in 18 years," Wall said. "We will reduce the size of the federal government. We will lower taxes; if we want to put people back to work, we need to reduce the burdensome taxes and regulation on small businesses."

Two Republican candidates have also stepped forward to challenge U.S. Rep. Dave Obey of Wausau. Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy and organic farmer Dan Mielke have stepped forward to take up the challenge.

"I got in this race because of government's fiscal irresponsibility," Duffy said. "Right now, we have a $12 trillion debt.

We are about to go off the economic cliff ... and one of the main offenders is the chairman of appropriations, Dave Obey. Boo and hiss on that."

Mielke garnered about 39 percent of the vote when he challenged Obey two years ago as the only Republican on the ballot.


"Earmarks are destroying this nation and Obey is the king of earmarks," Mielke said. "... Dave Obey brings home a lot of earmarks, but we're still 48th or 49th as far as the amount of money that comes back to Wisconsin compared to what goes out. He's not bringing home the bacon but he sure is stealing us blind."

State offices

While seven Republicans have registered as candidates for the governor's race in November, only one made the trek to Superior on Saturday. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker took time to meet people at Julie's Restaurant before Saturday afternoon's luncheon at Barker's Island Inn. It's the fourth time in a year Walker made the trek to Superior. He said many times politicians in the southern part of the state tend to forget people living outside the political and populous centers of Milwaukee and Madison, something he vows he won't do if elected governor.

"I'm Scott Walker, I'm from Wauwatosa, I ride a Harley and I'm here to ask for your vote for governor," the Republican candidate said. "... I care about Superior, I care about Douglas County, I care about the people all over this state and as governor; I'm going to continue to do that every day I'm in office."

Walker said he is confident that Wisconsin will succeed because of the people in the state.

Four candidates are vying for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor; three appeared Saturday at the Lincoln Day luncheon before heading to other parts state to continue stumping for the post.

Mayor Dave Ross, state Rep. Brett Davis of Oregon, Wis., and Ben Collins of Lake Geneva each took the opportunity to address the crowd.

Collins, a former Green Beret officer thrice deployed to Afghanistan and small businessman, said the very freedom men and women in the service are fighting for is being thrown away by leaders in Washington D.C. and Madison, prompting him to join the race.


"The greatest threat we are facing wasn't on a mountainside in Afghanistan; it was in Madison ... in Washington D.C.," Collins said. "It's about accountability; it's about responsibility. I'm going to help out next governor accomplish those."

Davis has served in the state assembly since elected first in 2004. Prior to that, he was an aide to former governor and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, and a legislative aide.

"The state of Wisconsin can no longer have an inexperienced and ineffective lieutenant governor," Davis said. "We're going to need people who have public sector and private sector experience if we're going to get things turned around. If I am lieutenant governor, I will not need to be trained. I will be able to hit the ground running and aggressively work to build jobs in the state ... cut through the rules and the red tape because I have a broad spectrum of experience."

Davis said a vote for him would keep Ross in office as Superior's mayor.

Ross said while state and federal government has been going further in the hole, Superior has been going in the opposite direction since he took office in 2003.

"Our government is 10 percent smaller than when I took office," Ross said. "We not only did that, but we've reduced our debt, increased our credit rating - twice in the last six months - and because of that, I want you to send me to Madison to do there what we've done in Superior."

Superior native Dane Deutsch is challenging long-standing Democratic Bob Jauch of Poplar for the senate seat Jauch has held since 1984. Deutsche graduated from Superior Senior High School and earned his Air Force officer commission in the ROTC program at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

"I owe a tremendous amount to this community," the owner of two small businesses in Rice Lake said. As a business owner of a gymnastics center, he said one of his goals has always been to teach character, something he started at the center and expanded to the schools in Rice Lake.


"As a small business owner, I know what it's like to try to make payroll, and what it's like to try to increase and grow your business. A lot of times taxes and government being intrusive makes things very, very difficult," Deutsch said.

State officers

Secretary of State Doug La Follette is also facing a challenge from Republican Pastor David King of Milwaukee. King, a community activist in Milwaukee since 1979, has served as a neighborhood security aid in Milwaukee, started a youth center in Meridian, Ga., and upon returning to Wisconsin in 1996, established a prison ministry, managed transitional living facilities for men and single women and has helped people secure employment and housing.

"As your secretary of state, I will be a servant to the people," King said Saturday. "And you'll get some good representation up here because they forgot about you all. ... As your servant, I will be sure you are in tune with what's happening in Madison. I will make sure whatever you need that I can help you get it. I am a problem solver."

Wisconsin's Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, formerly a prosecutor in Bayfield and Ashland counties and U.S. Attorney in Wisconsin, is throwing his hat in the race for a second term as the state's top law enforcement official.

"We've been able to set up, even with what we've been able to accomplish, a very sharp contrast to the Democrat leadership in the assembly, the senate and the governor's office," Van Hollen said. "We took over a backlog of DNA evidence at the crime lab and in a couple of years practically eliminated it." He said that helps local law enforcement officers to do their jobs better, such as getting a suspected serial rapist off the street right here in Superior.

"Through various lawsuits we have brought to clamp down on Medicaid fraud, we have brought millions of dollars back to the taxpayers coffers," Van Hollen said. He said while his predecessor recovered $400,000 during her last year in office, he recovered $4 million in first year and doubling that each of the last two years, bringing in a total of $28 million.

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