Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Obey Retirement & WI-8 CD

Wisconsin congressman David Obey has decided not to seek re-election. I don't think this can be called anything less than stunning. For those who might dismiss this as a Wisconsin phenomenon, remember that Obey has been in the House for over 40 years. And his influence and activity has been increasing, rather than fading in the last few years. He played key roles in the stimulus and health care bills, essentially the entire Obama presidency up to this point.

What, if anything, does this portend for us here in WI-8? Kevin offers this:

4) Kagen Must Really Be Scared Now.

Admittedly, this demand by Marc Savard for Kagen to follow Obey's lead and resign from Congress is about the dumbest thing I've read today, but the adding on from a number of 8th Congressional campaigns (WisPolitics links to press releases by Trager and Ribble) is just a reminder to Kagen that it's going to be a tough year for Democrats on the Congressional level.

When you have Dave Obey bailing on re-election, what does it say about Kagen's chances?

I'll admit I had the same thought at first, but on the other hand I'm not convinced this would automatically be a good thing.

I believe Kagen is beatable, but it's far from a sure thing, especially given his large fundraising advantage. Perhaps having a well-funded incumbent to run against helps to focus what has been a somewhat unwieldy Republican field up to this point.

If Kagen decided not to run, I can only imagine what the next six months would look like. I wonder if all those labor PAC's would ask for their money back?

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