Line Forming for Kleczka’s Seat

Posted March 2, 2004 at 6:32pm

While a dozen or so Democrats contemplated running for Congress after Rep. Jerry Kleczka (D-Wis.) made his surprise retirement announcement in January, only three have gotten into the race so far.

State Sen. Tom Carpenter (D) is the most recent addition to the open seat contest.

A good portion of the 4th Congressional district encompasses his Milwaukee-based state Senate seat and, like Kleczka, Carpenter hails from the city’s South Side.

Matt Flynn, an attorney and former Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman, has also filed, as has state Rep. Shirley Krug (D).

One Republican, Corey Hoze, a former Health and Human Services regional director, has also thrown his hat into the ring for the safely Democratic seat.

At one time the seat was more Republican but redistricting has made it Democratic territory, said Todd Robert Murphy, a Milwaukee-based political consultant.

Political observers are still waiting to see if state Sen. Gwen Moore (D) will enter the fray. If Moore is the lone black candidate, she could be formidable, because blacks make up one-third of the district.

A number of other state legislators are waiting in the wings as well. The filing deadline is not until July 13.

Early on there was speculation that the loser of Milwaukee’s April 6 runoff mayoral race would run for Congress, but Murphy says that’s unlikely. That would be too late for either acting Mayor Marvin Pratt or former Rep. Tom Barrett, both Democrats, to change gears, he said.

— Nicole Duran