Duffy's debt limit vote inspires potential challenger
Mike Simonson | Wisconsin Public Radio
ASHLAND - Inspired in part by his vote against increasing the nation's debt ceiling last week, an Ashland city councilor is in Washington this week exploring the possibility of running against Republican Rep. Sean Duffy.
Her plans were to attend the Women's Leadership Conference in Washington, but now Ashland City Councilor Kelly Westlund says she'll bend the ears of Democrats while in D.C. about running for the 7th Congressional seat.
Westlund says the expansive northwestern and central Wisconsin district isn't as conservative as two-term Duffy. “Frankly, he comes to the district and he says things that sound reasonable, that sound moderate, but he goes back to Washington and votes with the Tea Party 100 percent of the time, especially these last few months with the [federal government partial] shutdown.”
Westlund says the $2 to $3 million needed to run a congressional campaign is disturbing. “And then when you add in the outside groups, it just becomes this ridiculous number,” Westlund said. “I guess part of my apprehension is not that I'm afraid of raising that much money. It's because I fundamentally take an issue with raising that much money and spending it on campaign ads that just irritate people. I would rather spend that money doing good things in the community where we live.”
Even though she lacks name recognition outside the Chequamegon Bay area and she's only been a city councilor for two years, Westlund says she's got a shot. “I tell you what: People are people are people, and politicians are people too.”
The 30-year-old Westlund works as a freelance consultant, most recently for the Alliance for Sustainability and the Bayfield Regional Food Co-op.