Wisconsin: En Gard: Republican Officially Seeks Rematch

Posted April 28, 2008 at 6:41pm

Freshman Rep. Steve Kagen (D) is officially getting a rematch this cycle from his 2006 GOP opponent. In an expected move, former state Speaker John Gard (R) announced Sunday he would challenge Kagen in the northeast Wisconsin 8th district.

When Kagen and Gard faced off in a 2006 open-seat race, the Democrat won by 6,000 votes, despite the fact that the district gave President Bush 55 percent in 2004. In the process, Kagen, a wealthy allergist, dumped $2.5 million of his funds into the campaign.

Kagen stumbled a couple of times in his first year in Congress, including making incendiary comments at a campaign event and to a local alternatively weekly newspaper.

However, in Gard’s announcement speech, the Republican emphasized his political and policy differences with Kagen.

“While I have no doubt Congressman Kagen believes he is doing the right thing for his constituents, on issue after important issue, I would have voted differently than Steve Kagen did,” Gard said in a statement.

In response to Gard’s official announcement, Kagen said in a statement that his work in Congress has only just begun.

“There’s much more work to be done to bring about the change we need, like reducing skyrocketing prices for gasoline and health care, bringing more higher-wage jobs back to Wisconsin, and guaranteeing our veterans and seniors receive the benefits they’ve earned,” Kagen said.

— Shira Toeplitz