Elections Update: More Retirements and New Candidates for 8th CD

More legislators announce retirements

Rep. John Murtha (R-Baldwin), Rep. Tom Larson (R-Colfax), and Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) joined the growing number of legislators that will not seek re-election in 2016.

Rep. John Murtha has announced he will not seek reelection to the Assembly seat he has held since 2006. Murtha served as the Majority caucus chair and served on the Committee on Assembly Organization, Committee on Housing and Real Estate, Committee on Rules and the Joint Legislative Council. In the 2014 election, Murtha won the 29th Assembly seat by over 10 percentage points against Democratic challenger Jill Swanson.

Additionally, Rep. Tom Larson decided against seeking re-election to the 67th Assembly District, a seat he has held since 2010. Larson says he will not be seeking a fourth term due to his battle with cancer. In the 2015 session, Larson served on the Assembly Committee on Transportation, Committee on Small Business Development, Committee on Mining and Rural Development, Committee on Judiciary, Committee on Family Law and the Committee on Energy and Utilities. While Larson won his seat by over 20 percentage points in 2014, Barack Obama carried 51.9 percent of vote in 67th District in 2012.

Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd has also announced her plans to retire from the Senate. Harris Dodd is the first Democrat to announce their retirement from either chamber. Dodd will serve as the Senator from the 6th District for only one term, having been elected on 2012. In the 2015 legislature, Harris Dodd served on the Committee on Administrative Rules, Committee on Education Reform, Committee on Education Reform and Government Operations, Committee on Government Operations and Consumer Protection, Committee on Insurance, Housing, and Trade, Committee on Public Benefit and Regulatory Reform and the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules. Harris Dodd ran for Senate unopposed in 2012. Soon after her announcement, Harris Dodd endorsed Rep. Latoya Johnson (D-Milwaukee) for her Senate seat.

These legislators join Sen. Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) and Rep. Heaton (R-Wausau) and Rep. Knudson (R-Hudson) who previously announced they would not be seeking reelection.

Open 8th Congressional District Seat

Mike Gallagher, a Scott Walker presidential campaign staffer has announced his plans to run for the seat left open by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Green Bay).

Gallagher is a former U.S. Marine Captain who served two tours in the Iraq War. Additionally, Gallagher has worked for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and served as foreign policy director for Governor Walker’s short-lived presidential campaign. Gallagher holds a Ph.D. in international relations from Georgetown University.

Gallagher says his campaign will be focused on paying down debts and ensuring a strong national defense.

Also announcing his candidacy is Terry McNulty, a U.S. army veteran of over 20 years in numerous deployments. For his service in the military McNulty received the Meritorious Service Medal. McNulty has a long record of public service including Southern Door School Board Treasurer, commander of the Forestville American Legion. He is currently the Forestville village president, a member of the Southern Door School Board, and the county commander of the Kewaunee Chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars. McNulty says his campaign message will focus on paying down debt, tax reform, and balancing the budget.

Also announcing their campaign is Wendy Gribben of Marinette County. Gribben identifies as a progressive independent. Gribben is a former EMT and volunteer firefighter with more than 20 years of experience in customer service. Additionally, Gribben worked as police communications operation supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

These candidates join Sen. Frank Lasee in those officially declaring their candidacy.