Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 15, 2004
POLITICS: On Wisconsin
Millionaire construction magnate and former Army Ranger Tim Michels yesterday won the Republican primary to challenge Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. The Feingold-Michels race, in a critical swing state in the presidential race, promises to focus heavily on national security:
Michels, the only candidate in the race with military experience, also argued his background was critical in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Yes, it's ironic to have a Republican, in this year of John Kerry, stressing his military record. But a military record remains a very good thing for a public official to have; it just can't be everything. Feingold's vote against the Patriot Act naturally invites a serious debate on the issue. It's also ironic to have a self-financed millionaire businessman running against one of the authors of the campaign finance reform bill that will only proliferate the number of such candidacies in the future.
Feingold remains favored to win, but polls have consistently shown that he was vulnerable; Michels will need to move fast to make an impression. Fortunately, Feingold called before the primary for five debates with the GOP nominee. I was a little disappointed here - I'd given money to Bob Welch (not the pitcher), a long-time Wisconsin state senator and conservative favorite. Either way, though, it will be a senate race to watch.