Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Who Dares Challenge The Petri?

The Post Crescent this morning is reporting that Rep. Tom Petri may be facing a primary challenge from some dude named Ken Kratz. Now, referring to Mr. Kratz as "some dude" is a bit demeaning since he happens to be a county District Attorney with a good deal of legal experience, but it's hard to take seriously any kind of threat to Rep. Petri's office this late in the election cycle.

I've never heard of Kratz before (not that that's a bad thing -- I tend to view anyone with intimate knowledge of the area's district attorneys a bit suspiciously), but I suspect what he may be doing is laying the ground work for a possible "real" run for when Petri eventually retires. It's not a bad way to build some name recognition and practice on the trail, after all.

But if it's a genuine bona fide balls-to-the-wall effort to unseat a long-sitting incumbent who rarely has seen challenges from either side of the aisle, then Mr. Kratz has his work cut out for him. Petri is about as moderate as Republicans get these days and this isn't exactly the year to be running to the right of a well-regarded incumbent. I don't know what kind of options that leaves Kratz to work with ... is there some kind of pressing issue here in the 6th CD that needs the urgent attention in the House of Representatives? I can't think of one -- granted, that doesn't mean there isn't one ...

Let's face it: the voters in the 6th CD have basically given Rep. Petri his seat in Congress for as long as he wants it, and unless he is dragged off to the Hague to face some heretofore undisclosed International Fashion Crimes Tribunal, he's not going anywhere (no matter what Matt Stoller may think).

(Pictured above: Donning his trademark button-down short-sleeved shirt, tie and writing implement in breast pocket, Rep. Tom Petri displays his collection of Excel spreadsheets to a rapt audience in Winneconne)

MORE: Turns out Kratz was the prosecutor in the the Teresa Halbach murder case.

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