Return of the Creature from the Black Lagoon

RightWisconsin is always reluctant to endorse candidates for public office. We would like to remain a forum for candidates and let the voters decide for themselves.

However, there are circumstances in the 7th congressional district special election that compel us to indicate a preference in that race. Those circumstances lead us to conclude that Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) is the only candidate deserving of Republican votes in the February 18 GOP primary.

Tiffany and his opponent Jason Church are currently fighting a battle of who can be more supportive of President Donald Trump. We’re a long way from when Wisconsin was the last holdout against Trump in the 2016 presidential primaries.

But if we are going to have that battle, Church fails on Trump’s signature issue of wanting to “drain the swamp.” Church is too busy allying himself with the Creature from the Black Lagoon of Wisconsin politics, former Assembly Speaker John Gard.

Lobbyist John Gard's backing of Jason Church is a bad Creature of the Black Lagoon sequel.
Lobbyist John Gard’s backing of Jason Church is a bad Creature of the Black Lagoon sequel.

Gard, the one-time Republican leader from Sun Prairie/Peshtigo (depending how he was billing the state for mileage), is currently waging a war in Republican primaries against candidates who supported prevailing wage requirement reform in the legislature. When that conservative reform passed, lobbyist Gard was embarrassed and has taken it out on the GOP. It was a group associated with Gard that was responsible for the “Scott Holes” campaign against former Governor Scott Walker.

As WISN-AM’s Mark Belling first reported, Church actually flip-flopped on a similar issue to the prevailing wage requirement at the federal level in a questionnaire, and then had a fundraiser co-hosted by Gard.

Prevailing wage laws, and the federal equivalent of Bacon-Davis, are bad for taxpayers. They artificially raise the costs of public works projects and are the type of anti-free market policies that good conservative candidates should naturally oppose.

Despite threats from special interests, Tiffany supported the successful repeal of Wisconsin’s prevailing wage laws. He has committed to fighting the Bacon-Davis law at the federal level, too.

Church, who served on U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s staff, is running as “an outsider.” But when the taxpayers needed Church, he let them down and took a giant suck of swamp water instead.

The Republican primary in the 7th Congressional District could have been a compelling fight between two candidates of different backgrounds with admirable biographies.

Tiffany is a solid conservative legislator and a small business owner. He is well known in the district and is endorsed by former Rep. Sean Duffy (who represented the district), Walker, former Gov. Tommy Thompson, state Sen. Duey Stroebel, and former state Sen. Leah Vukmir. On Sunday, Tiffany was endorsed by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who is retiring at the end of this term.

Church served our country in Afghanistan and lost both legs in combat before joining Johnson’s staff. He is endorsed by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA.

But instead of just a comparison of the candidates’ biographies, we have a clear example of how Church will behave if elected. By aligning himself with the oleaginous Gard, Church revealed the kind of congressman he will be if elected, one too willing to compromise with special interests.

Fortunately, Republicans have a better alternative. If Gard and his special interest allies continue to lose in GOP primaries, as they did in 2016 when Alex Rinard faced state Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere) in the Republican primary for state senate, then Gard will lose his ability to threaten Republican state legislators and his effectiveness will be diminished.

Republicans deserve a candidate whom they know will fight for conservative principles in Washington, not Gard’s special interest allies. We strongly encourage every Republican to vote for Tiffany in the GOP primary on February 18, and then vote for Tiffany again in the special election on May 12.

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