Kurtz vs. Kind

We previewed the candidacy of Tony Kurtz earlier this month, and yesterday the Prairie du Chien farmer and 20-year Army vet made it official.

“People are tired of career politicians who say all the right things but then blame others for the gridlock and lack of results,” Kurtz said in his announcement. He runs a 200-acre farm and he and his wife spent years in the U.S. Army. His wife, Kim, is a head nurse at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital.

Kurtz has the credibility to challenge Mr. Kind on the key issues on which the 18-year incumbent has run time after time, including veterans affairs, healthcare, and agriculture. For Kind these have been politically lucrative issues. For Tony Kurtz, they’re his life story.

More importantly, Kurtz has the political aptitude to take on Kind for being a career politician who cherishes his talking points and offers a remarkable skill for shifting blame for Washington’s gridlock to “Tea Party Republicans.” But much of Kind’s support is superficial as many voters long for an alternative choice who will aggressively take on the congressman and demonstrate the potential to win, as evidenced by only just a hair over 50 percent of the district voting for him in 2010. Kurtz offers a reasonable alternative who will aggressively tackle the ineptitude of D.C.’s ruling functionaries – career politicians and Ivy League lawyers who’ve anointed themselves to run the country.

After 18 years in Congress, the people of Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District should be able to expect a representative who focuses on fixing problems, not fixing blame. Yet a knack for effectively re-assigning responsibility to others, dolled up with increasingly petty partisan name-calling, seems to be Kind’s greatest political strength in his quest to set himself up for Ron Johnson’s senate seat in 2016.

Kurtz also has the endorsements of Kind’s 2010 and 2012 challengers, Dan Kapanke and Ray Boland. Kapanke came within several points of Kind in 2010, a race that included a libertarian candidate running on a comedically hyperbolic platform.

Kurtz joins retired Mauston building contractor Ken Van Doren and former Ron Johnson staffer Chris Anderson in challenging the congressman-for-life. We expect more movement in the Republican field soon.

About the writer: Chris Rochester has worked in communications and finance for a state Senate and congressional campaign, consulted on numerous Assembly and local races, and has held leadership roles in his local Republican Party. He's communications director for the MacIver Institute. Commentary here is strictly his own.