Democrat Kirk Bangstad, a Wisconsin entertainer and consultant who has worked with some of the country’s largest tech companies, announced Tuesday he will challenge Republican Rep. Sean P. Duffy in the state's 7th District.
Like other candidates who have never held elected office, Bangstad said his message will be simple: “Washington is broken, and it will take someone who has not been there to fix it."
“The constant partisan bickering and gridlock have hurt our country and left Wisconsin families behind,” Bangstad said in a statement. “I’m running for Congress because I think my background in helping companies expand their workforce and create jobs is a perspective that Washington needs now more than ever.”
Duffy, too, gained some familiarity from entertainment before he entered politics. In 1997, he was on the MTV reality show “Real World," and later appeared on the network’s show “Road Rules."
Bangstad has never served in elected office, but on his LinkedIn page he lists experience with an unnamed New York City mayoral candidate in 2013. According to New York City campaign finance records, he was paid for two months by former Rep. Anthony Weiner's campaign.
Duffy's 7th District is rated as Safe Republican by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call. Duffy was elected during the tea party wave in 2010 with 52 percent of the vote, and has increased his margin of victory in each election since. He won in 2014 with 60 percent of the vote.