Campaign memo reveals Van Doren’s military prejudice

Reagan Rule: Never speak ill of another Republican.
Buckley Rule: Support the most viable conservative candidate.

In Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, Tony Kurtz is the most viable conservative candidate. Not “most viable” in a deep-sigh-I-guess-he’ll-have-to-do sense, the same kind associated with the reluctant voters still bitter about Mitt Romney’s loss to President Obama in 2012. Mr. Kurtz is an exciting candidate: he’s amiable, smart, a veteran, a farmer, and a helluva campaigner whose charm is authentic and whose eagerness for pragmatism and reform will upend the establishment status quo in Washington.

But first, he has to get through Ken Van Doren in a primary on August 12. Not “get through” in a challenging sense, like the kind associated with anyone who’s ever wanted to get out of a seemingly eternal conversation with Van Doren. He’s a disconcerting candidate: long-winded, misguided, and politically inept, whose manifest charmlessness would be lost on even the most understanding and patient members of the nation’s legislature.

The below campaign memo was sent to Van Doren’s inner circle. It includes talking points on taking down Mr. Kurtz. My biggest concern in publishing them here is that the Kind Campaign could take them and run with them, but he hasn’t been a successful politician by using ham-handed and genuinely unpatriotic tactics.

It’s been copied from its original form. I’d deplete the internet of its pixel supply were I to appropriately apply the [sic] modifier to denote errors.

From: “Ken Van Doren” <>
Date: Jun 26, 2014 7:01 AM
Subject: Kurtz talking points.bill

The wars, need to paint him as a war monger,
“I am pro-life, but it is not a priority. We need to concentrate on spending issues.” Tony.Currently I am recieveing a flurry of postcards from a prolife group, we need to send a letter to them.
Also, an ad possibility: Male voice- Tony Kurtz says he is pro-life, but it is not a priority, and instead we need to concentrate on spending issues. Femal voice, “I heard Ken Van Doren say….” Me-“the first priority of every government should be to protect our rights to life, liberty and property. WIthout life, the rest is meaningless.” In unison. “That is why we are voting for Ken Van Doren for Congress on Aug. 12” Paid for by Van Doren for Congress
These 2 issues I see as the wedge I can drive, with your help. My plan is to ignore Karen altogether. No need to look like a sexist, or even risk same. Last forum, she took 4 minutes to say what I normally do in half a sentence.

Tony Wants expanded ag welfare program for returning vets so they can get into agriculture
Tony Is an ag welfare recipient, got $11,574 from USDA last year. (source EWG which gets their info from USDA)
He says, “Need to look at resume’s” and then touts his military experience as qualifying him. Me- Tony flies helicopters and looks good in a uniform and knows how to grow orgainc vegetables. Not to take anything away from any of that, we have befriended and funded Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Manuel Noriega and other dictators, and even trained ISIS. We have funded and trained Muslim Brotherhood and al QUeada connected rebels in Libya, Syria and other countries. I do not need to see this from a helicopter to conclude that, unless creating radical Islamic governments in our wake is our goal, from Iran, to Libya, to Syria if we proceed, our military/foreign policy by any objective standard is an abject failure.
I helped a friend do fencing at Ft. McCoy 2 yrs ago, and he pointed out some 50+ buildings at a Million $ each that sat empty both then and now. He recently went to remove and replace a temporary gate, which had 2 yards of concrete attached to the posts, and only needed an equipment operator to get the job done. Instead he got 6 laborers, 3 skid steer operators, one back hoe operator and a safety officer to oversee the entire 2 hour project. I do not need a uniform to see that there is waste, inefficiency fraud and outright corruption in the military procurement process.
Tony is literally the politically invisible man before his announcement, I can not find as much as a letter to the editor to indicate his previous concern. In my experience, folks like him, the politically unknown tend to gravitate to the big government wing of the party, and indeed, that is what is happening now. He is the establishment war monger candidate.

At the national level it is well known that Karl Rove and the Chamber of Commerce are attacking the few liberty minded congressmen including Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Walter Jones, and there are Rovian types here in WI that would rather see a Democrat win than give a liberty candidate the slightest opportunity to win.

ABSOLUTE SILENCE on Common Core, the FED, and little to nothing on Constitution and individual rights from Tony. He is all about spending only, and even there his positions seem somewhat flexible.

WHY it is important to have the right candidate: out of 63 2010 freshmen, only 8 Reps and 2 senators voted against reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act. REcent budget deal that Ryan was a part of sold conservatives down the river, and the entire GWB admin, was supported by a GOP congress that spent like drunken sailors. (no offense Bill)
If you can think of more, please add to list. We need letters to the editor now until the election.

In Liberty,


Van Doren for Congress
PO Box 312
Mauston, WI 53948

Van Doren comes off at once as marketing executive, policy wonk, and arbiter of the values of liberty, roles at which he fails tremendously in this memo.

The attempt to connect military spending and perceived waste with Mr. Kurtz is dishonest and slimy. Worse, the idea that as a member of the military Mr. Kurtz played any role in shaping foreign policy is downright stupid. Does Van Doren know that as a crusty junior member of Congress without a drop of relevant experience he will have no say in the matters of foreign policy?

Van Doren says he doesn’t need a uniform to have an informed opinion, but had he ever worn one, perhaps he’d demonstrate an iota of tact.

In Wisconsin, we revere those who have served the United States of America. Van Doren’s values aren’t Wisconsin values — they’re petty and jealous and small and weak.

The rest is trifling and petty. He excoriates Mr. Kurtz for being an uninvolved political novice and in the same breath accuses him of being an “establishment war monger” candidate. His stated desire to drive a wedge within the party is counterproductive, self-serving, and idiotic. Van Doren could win by being the better candidate, but he’s not. It’s in the party’s interest to field and support great candidates who can win and spurn the ones who actively divide the party and pave an avenue for Democrat victories.

His senile blitherings and overt disrespect for his opponent’s military service were just the rantings of a candidate very likely to lose the primary, tolerable and undocumented until now. If elected in the August primary, Van Doren has the capacity to not only lose in an unprecedented landslide to Ron Kind, but also the potential to be a massive embarrassment to the entire Republican Party in the 3rd District.

I look forward to his loss on August 12.

(You can email me here.)

About the writer: Nik Nelson is publisher of and Founder/CEO of OpenBox Strategies, where he connects political candidates and small businesses with excellent digital marketing tools and strategies.
  • Concerned Citizen

    Yikes! I appreciate the info! This Tony character sounds like a real RINO (ala Adam Kinzinger and John McCain – also former military). Is he conservative on anything?!! Poor Wisconsin…

  • Randy Molini

    I’m sure the author of this article has good intentions, yet I fail to
    see how this, “leaked” e-mail puts Ken Van Doren in a bad light. Besides
    some nebulous concept of disrespect for the military, ( which I did not
    gather whatsoever after several readings), it appears more like this
    author just doesn’t like Ken Van Doren, which is his choice. Calling Ken
    “senile”, “slimy and disgusting”, the basis of which came from
    publishing a, “leaked” e-mail – a procedure which some may find, “slimy
    and disgusting” – still does not differentiate Tony Kurtz from Ron Kind.
    This e-mail however, goes a long way in differentiating Ken Van Doren
    from Ron Kind and Tony Kurtz, which is what informed voters are looking
    for. In this short e-mail there are more substantive policy differences
    between Ken Van Doren and any candidate I’ve seen for decades. I look
    forward to Ken’s victory on August 12 !

  • strayaway

    Where did Mr. Van Doren say, “the idea that as a member of the military Mr. Kurtz played any role in shaping foreign policy”? He said no such thing. Not only is Nik Nelson’s reading comprehension questionable, he goes on the violate Reagans’ rule by speaking ill of Mr. Van Doren..

    What Nik Nelson’s article totally fails to do is refute Mr. Van Doren’s assertions that Mr. Kurtz supports the war mongering, big spending, big federal government model supported by Rove, McCain, Bush, and Ron Kind. Without even bringing up the amnesty issue, Mr. Nelson has positioned Mr. Kurtz as being a Republican version of Ron Kind. Perhaps, is some future article, Mr. Nelson will differentiate Kind and Kurtz on issues such as the NSA, remaining in Afghanistan, the USDA, amnesty, and Syria. Until then, Mr. Van Doren stands out as the small government choice in this election.