Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District, which stretches from the shores of Lake Michigan across east-central Wisconsin to take in Columbus, Lodi and other communities just north of Dane County, has not sent a Democrat to the U.S. House of Representatives in 55 years. Home to Ripon’s Little White Schoolhouse, which is recognized as the birthplace of the Republican Party, it once sent some of the party’s ablest members to Congress — including a pair of nationally recognized leaders of Grand Old Party’s moderate wing, former U.S. Reps. William Steiger and Tom Petri, when the term “thinking Republican” was not a misnomer.
No one will ever accuse the district’s current congressman, Glenn Grothman, of being a “thinking Republican.” Grothman does not think. He blurts out nonsense, embarrassing himself and the state he is supposed to represent.
Grothman is a lockstep backer of Donald Trump who recently attracted international ridicule when he was trying to heap praise on the man who has completely botched the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s time to talk about Donald John Trump,” announced Grothman, before erupting in a coughing fit so severe that his office had to announce that he was not suffering from COVID-19. That’s par for the course for Wisconsin’s most bumbling and ineffectual congressman.
In a typical election year, the absurdity of Grothman’s attempt at public service would not threaten his reelection. But this is not a typical year and that means that Democrats must take seriously the Aug. 11 primary to pick a challenger to the befuddled incumbent.
Only one of the three contenders for the Democratic nomination in the 6th has a chance to unseat Grothman. That’s former state Sen. Jessica King, a lawyer with deep roots in the district’s farm country and a record as a member of the Oshkosh City Council and the state Senate. Former Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller sums up the argument for King when he says, “For most of her adult life Jess King helped Wisconsinites facing adversity. She especially knows the devastation caused by inadequate health insurance that can decimate family finances. It’s time for the 6th District to replace their current representative, who voted numerous times to weaken and eliminate health insurance protections, with Jess King, who knows what life is like for regular folks.”
We share Miller’s view and we think King’s nomination is vital to the task of taking on Grothman. So we are doing something we don’t usually do.
Traditionally, The Capital Times avoids making endorsements in partisan primaries, especially when there are a number of compelling progressive candidates. But we will sometimes wade in when there is a chance to set up an important November race, as is the case with the Democratic contest in the 6th District. On Aug. 11, we hope Democratic voters will nominate Jess King to challenge and unseat Glenn Grothman.
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