Green Bay earmark in jeopardy

Federal funds to demolish Green Bay’s former downtown shopping mall could be a casualty of the Republican-led assault on congressional earmarks.

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, has pushed for $1 million in urban redevelopment funds for the city demolition project.

Kagen, however, is preparing to leave office without a federal funding commitment.

And his successor, Republican Reid Ribble, has spoken out against earmarks.

“There’s a lot of question marks around it,” Kagen spokeswoman Allison Jaslow said of Green Bay’s funding request.

“I see it as something that could actually be in jeopardy now.”

Without federal aid, city officials would be forced to find a new funding source for a central element in downtown redevelopment.

Alderman Ned Dorff, whose district includes the shuttered Washington Commons, said he hopes the urban redevelopment funds still will come through.

“A million bucks is big. So, yeah, that would be a setback,” Dorff said. “We’re all kind of holding our breath on this one.”

Ribble, who will take office in January, said of earmarks, “We’ve got to get some type of control.”

He has not yet looked at Green Bay’s funding request, but he cited “intense pressure” to cut federal spending.

“I don’t know if this type of project is going to fall victim to that,” he said. (Source: Green Bay Press Gazette)

Whether Green Bay leaders like it or not this is something that should be a casualty right now. At least until the process can be reformed and made more transparent. For that to happen all earmarks need to be banned at this point. It’s a tough choice, but tough choices need to be made to rein in out-of-control spending.

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Congressman Kagen wasting trillions

The Ribble campaign has had quick response lately to false and misleading attack ads.  Good move here reminding voters of the 8th how Congressman Kagen supported the FAILED stimulus that actually led to job losses. Especially since jobs are apparently the Congressman’s top priority.

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Two factors working against Congressman Kagen

Steve Kagen
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Incumbent Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen is fighting for his political survival in a seat viewed by Republicans as a must-win on Election Day.

In a year when polls consistently demonstrate a general frustration with entrenched Washington politicians, Kagen has to contend with a potential GOP wave election, as well as the history of his district.
The longtime allergist is running for his third term in a GOP-leaning district, facing tough odds: No Democrat has ever held the Wisconsin 8th congressional district more than two consecutive terms.

According to political science Professor Dave Wegge of Wisconsin’s St. Norbert College, who has written of the challenges that Democrats faced historically in Wisconsin’s 8th, Kagen has an uphill climb against GOP challenger and political neophyte Reid Ribble.

“I think that it’s a real difficult task for Steve Kagen to overcome the overall context of the election, with economic conditions the way they are, the level of Barack Obama’s popularity, and then do all of that in the context of [Kagen’s] running in a Republican district,” Wegge told The Hill in an interview.

Republicans feel confident that Ribble, a longtime roofer, will win the seat. The GOP needs to win at least 39 additional seats to regain control of the House.

Nonpartisan political handicapper Charlie Cook ranks Kagen’s race as “Leans Republican” — a change made a little over a week ago from the previous ranking of “Democratic toss-up.” (Source: The Hill)

Congressman Kagen is definitely facing an uphill battle as he has tried running as an outsider since starting his re-election campaign.  Every ad he runs refers to him as “Dr.” instead of “Congressman.”  It’s also a likely factor playing into not even attempting to run on the issues choosing the path of misdirection and misleading attacks where he refers to his opponent, the true outsider, as “politician”.

Ultimately voters will decide on November 2nd if it’s time for Congressman Kagen to return to private practice.

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Shocking poll results in the 8th?

In this nail-biter of a race, Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) trails his Republican opponent, Reid Ribble, by one point, 44 percent to 45, with 10 percent of likely voters undecided, according to The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll.

Each candidate has locked up his party’s support, and independents are breaking slightly for Kagen, 43 percent to 40, with 15 percent of independents undecided.
Kagen leads by 14 points among females, while Ribble leads by 17 points among males. Ribble is winning younger and middle-aged voters while Kagen does well among older voters.

The Hill poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland Oct. 12-14. The survey consisted of 415 phone interviews among likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent. (Source: The Hill)

The poll shows a tightening race, perhaps closer than expected.  Especially when previously released internal polls showed a wider lead for Ribble.  It also shows why to follow this cautiously.

Perhaps the Ribble campaign would be wise to do TV and radio ads highlighting his real position on Social Security.  As Jerry points out, those Kagen attack ads may be having an impact among older voters.

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