Democratic Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson is announcing his candidacy Thursday for the Wisconsin seat being vacated by Republican Rep. Reid Ribble.
Democrats are pleased Nelson's finally getting in the House race, especially in a presidential year when the party is hoping to expand its down-ballot battlefield. A swing seat at the presidential level, Wisconsin's 8th District is the kind of seat the party needs to contest if it's going to fight for control of the chamber. President Barack Obama won the 7th by 9 points in 2008, and Mitt Romney won it by 4 points in 2012.
Nelson, an Appleton, Wis., resident and the former majority leader in the state Assembly, ran and lost for lieutenant governor in 2010.
Ribble announced in January that he would not seek a fourth term , prompting the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call to shift the rating of the district from Safe Republican to Republican Favored. His retirement opened up a crowded GOP field , which is shaping up as a fight between Iraq War veteran Mike Gallagher and state Sen. Frank Lasee. The state's filing deadline is June 1.