8th District GOP race tops local ballot

All critical of status quo

Area voters on Tuesday will have several primary races to decide in state and congressional races, the most hotly contested being the the GOP nomination for the 8th Congressional District, where three candidates are vying for the seat held for three terms by Reid Ribble.

Mike Gallagher, of Green Bay, Frank Lasee, of De Pere, and Terry McNulty, of Forestville, are competing to take on Democratic candidate Tom Nelson in the November election.

“I’m one of those guys who’s fed up with politics as usual,” McNulty said. “I don’t trust career politicians.”

Gallagher expressed similar sentiments in an interview with the Leader last month.

“The system will be better served if there were more private citizens from all walks of life who treat this more like a deployment than a career,” he said.

Both were equally critical of the current Congress.

“Only 8 percent of people are happy with Congress,” McNulty said, adding that “nothing is getting done.”

McNulty said he would be willing to work across the aisle to get things accomplished, provided the deal was fair.

“Compromise is OK if you get something out of it,” he said. “Everything over the last seven years, we haven’t gotten anything out of it.”

McNulty said he would have supported Ribble if he were running again, though he disagrees with him on some issues, such as changes Congress made reducing military retirement benefits.
“Congress changed military retirement but didn’t touch their own,” he said.
McNulty said security was at the top of his priority list.

“We’re not as safe as we once were. We have to enforce the law,” he said.

His other priorities include putting forward a balanced budget, tax reform, term limits and benefit reform.

In an election year dominated on the GOP side by political newcomer Donald Trump in the presidential race, McNulty also emphasizes his outsider status.
“I’m not a career politician,” he said. “I’m an ordinary guy.”
Though Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket has some down-ballot Republicans nervous, McNulty is happy to be running under the Trump banner.

“It’s a good thing having Trump at the top of the ticket,” he said. “He’s brought a lot of different people into the party. The alternative is Hillary and that would be horrible.”

McNulty said he trusts Donald Trump, even though he doesn’t agree with everything Trump says.

“Sometimes he says things for shock value,” McNulty said. “People don’t understand his sense of humor.”

McNulty said the country needs to enforce its immigration laws and doesn’t need the border wall with Mexico Trump has proposed.
However, he said, he does agree with Trump on backing away from NATO obligations if other countries are not paying their fair share.
“The U.S. shouldn’t be paying more than other countries,” McNulty said.

McNulty also downplayed Trump’s feud this past week with the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

“That was blown out of proportion,” McNulty said. “Donald has been very supportive of veterans.”
In his interview with the Leader last month, Gallagher also said he supports Trump, in spite of political and philosophical differences.

The events of the past week haven’t changed that.

“Mike plans to support the Republican nominee for President of the United States,” said Gallagher campaign spokesperson Madison Wiberg in an email Friday.

“While Mike doesn’t agree with everything Mr. Trump says or does, he believes that the Republican Party offers the best solutions to the urgent problems facing our country,” she said.

In response to Trump’s handling of the situation with the Khan Family, she said, “After seven years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and two combat deployments to Iraq, Mike believes our Gold Star families deserve nothing less than our utmost respect and gratitude for their sacrifice.”
Gallagher served seven years on active duty as a human intelligence/counterintelligence officer and regional affairs officer for the Middle East and North Africa, earning the rank of captain. During his service he deployed twice to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, as a commander of intelligence teams.
For the past 18 years, McNulty and his wife have owned and operated McNulty Surveying and Mapping, a small, family-run business located in Forestville. He is also Forestville village president, treasurer of the Board of Education for the Southern Door School District and commander of the Forestville American Legion.

Lasee, who did not respond to a request for an interview by press time, has served in the Wisconsin State Senate since 2010. Prior to that he served in the Assembly.

Lasee said in a statement on his website that he wants government to work for the people, not against them.

“I’m running for Congress to restore personal freedom and economic liberty so our economy can grow, businesses can hire, workers can find better jobs with bigger paychecks — and families can have a better future,” he said. “Big government’s greedy hand is robbing people of their liberty, looting the public treasury, rigging the system in favor of Washington politicians and lobbyists, and destroying the American Dream. I want to downsize Washington, so we maximize freedom — and restore the dream to live, work and prosper in the America we love.”

Also on Tuesday’s primary ballot, former Sen. Russ Feingold, of Middleton, faces a challenge from Scott Harbach, of Kenosha, for the Democratic nomination in the race for the senate seat held by incumbent Republican Ron Johnson, of Oshkosh.

Meanwhile, votes in the 35th Assembly district has three Democrats to choose from — Derek Woellner, Erik Pfantz and Renea Frederick, all of Merrill — in their bids for the nomination to run against incumbent Republican Mary Czaja, of Tomahawk.