Wisconsin: Local GOP Disbands in Closely Fought District

Posted December 3, 2007 at 6:33pm

State Republicans are working to reorganize their Brown County operation after disbanding it in late November. Wisconsin GOP spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said state Republicans are in the process of recertifying the county party, which is now holding organizational meetings and will acquire new leadership in the next few weeks.

According to a report by The Associated Press, the Brown County Republican chairman recently resigned after he was charged with inappropriate activities with minors involving a 16-year-old boy. Prosecutors dropped the charges after the boy did not show up at a court hearing.

Brown County is home to Green Bay, which is the center of the battle for freshman Rep. Steve Kagen’s (D) seat. Brown County Democrats Communications Director Rich Langan said the demise of the county GOP is bad for both Democrats and Republicans in this race.

“When you have a whole party support system go down, that’s going to be bad for the candidates,” Langan said. “I hope they get their act together quick, because it’s too important of an election. We’ve got to get our issues out and they’ve got to get their issues out and let the voters decide.”

Kagen won his district by less than 6,000 votes in 2006, defeating state Speaker John Gard (R). The two men will likely face off again for the seat in 2008.

Gard campaign consultant Mark Graul said his candidate’s campaign is in good shape for Election Day, despite the state of the county party.

“John Gard is fortunate in that he can rely on a volunteer army that includes Republicans, Independents and even some Democrats who support his common sense philosophy — rather than any party apparatus,” Graul said.

— Shira Toeplitz