Key Democrat to retire from House in 2010

Ed Lasky
David Obey, a major power in the Democratic Party and chairman of the powerful House Apprpriations Committee is retiring.  He is a left-wing Congressman who may have shifted too far to the left for his increasingly right-leaning state (Senator Feingold is not faring well). Obey will be giving up a powerful position as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Politico reports:

When POLITICO contacted Sean Duffy, a leading Republican candidate for Obey's seat back in Wisconsin, he was incredulous.

"Is this a prank call?" Duffy asked.

When Duffy was assured that the news was real, his phone started ringing on the other line: "I've got to go. I'm blowing up."

Duffy, best-known nationally for his appearance on MTV's Real World a decade ago, is the Ashland County district attorney.

"This move clears the way for Duffy to be the next congressman from northwest Wisconsin. His campaign has gotten national attention and he's running a very well-oiled grassroots machine," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tom Erickson.

Democrats claim a deep bench in the sprawling district, with several state legislators expected to seriously consider jumping in. They include: state senators Pat Kreitlow, Julie Lassa, Russ Decker and Jim Holperin, along with state Reps. Donna Seidel, Ann Hraychuck and Amy Sue Vruwink.

Obey's chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee allowed him to have a near-stranglehold on the rural northwest Wisconsin district, but his comfortable re-election victories belie the competitive nature of the seat. While President Obama carried the district with 56 percent of the vote, John Kerry barely won it by just over 5,000 votes in 2004.

What was once counted a safe Democrat seat is now very  much in play.

Update:
 
Stuart Rothenberg spots trouble for Russ Feingold: "When former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) announced recently that he wouldn't enter the 2010 Senate race and challenge Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, many of us crossed the state off our list of competitive races. Maybe we were a bit premature. Two more Republicans - former state Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel and businessman Ron Johnson - are joining the two GOPers already in the contest, businessman Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake, and the newly expanded field is just one reason for reconsidering my knee-jerk judgment. None of these four hopefuls possesses all of the qualities of the ideal challenger. But this cycle, Republicans may not need ideal challengers to win, even in the Badger State."
David Obey, a major power in the Democratic Party and chairman of the powerful House Apprpriations Committee is retiring.  He is a left-wing Congressman who may have shifted too far to the left for his increasingly right-leaning state (Senator Feingold is not faring well). Obey will be giving up a powerful position as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Politico reports:

When POLITICO contacted Sean Duffy, a leading Republican candidate for Obey's seat back in Wisconsin, he was incredulous.

"Is this a prank call?" Duffy asked.

When Duffy was assured that the news was real, his phone started ringing on the other line: "I've got to go. I'm blowing up."

Duffy, best-known nationally for his appearance on MTV's Real World a decade ago, is the Ashland County district attorney.

"This move clears the way for Duffy to be the next congressman from northwest Wisconsin. His campaign has gotten national attention and he's running a very well-oiled grassroots machine," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tom Erickson.

Democrats claim a deep bench in the sprawling district, with several state legislators expected to seriously consider jumping in. They include: state senators Pat Kreitlow, Julie Lassa, Russ Decker and Jim Holperin, along with state Reps. Donna Seidel, Ann Hraychuck and Amy Sue Vruwink.

Obey's chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee allowed him to have a near-stranglehold on the rural northwest Wisconsin district, but his comfortable re-election victories belie the competitive nature of the seat. While President Obama carried the district with 56 percent of the vote, John Kerry barely won it by just over 5,000 votes in 2004.

What was once counted a safe Democrat seat is now very  much in play.

Update:
 
Stuart Rothenberg spots trouble for Russ Feingold: "When former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) announced recently that he wouldn't enter the 2010 Senate race and challenge Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, many of us crossed the state off our list of competitive races. Maybe we were a bit premature. Two more Republicans - former state Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel and businessman Ron Johnson - are joining the two GOPers already in the contest, businessman Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake, and the newly expanded field is just one reason for reconsidering my knee-jerk judgment. None of these four hopefuls possesses all of the qualities of the ideal challenger. But this cycle, Republicans may not need ideal challengers to win, even in the Badger State."