On April 7, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson declared his candidacy for the 8th Congressional District in northeast Wisconsin. The seat is open after Rep. Reid Ribble’s retirement announcement last fall.
Nelson served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 2005 to 2011 and was the Assembly majority leader in the 2009-10 legislative session. In 2010, Nelson chose not run for the Assembly again and instead ran as lieutenant governor with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. After an unsuccessful bid, Nelson was elected as Outagamie County Executive in 2011, a position he has held since.
In his announcement speech Nelson, a Democrat, stated that he believes his experience as the County Executive, a nonpartisan position, demonstrates his ability to work well with members of other political parties.
Four Republicans are also running, including Sen. Frank Lasee (R – De Pere) and Scott Walker presidential campaign advisor Mike Gallagher. Prior to Nelson’s announcement, the seat was favored to remain Republican. However now with his entry, the seat is considered a tossup. A primary election will be held August 9, 2016.