Not many people know that Dr. Steve Kagen is also an accomplished bike racer. Cycling is a tough, demanding sport that mixes equal doses of teamwork with a demand for solo performance. Watching the three Democratic candidates in Wisconsin’s 8th CD contest, especially Wall and Kagen working together for the common good, has been encouraging to everyone who intends to see John Gard return home in November… err Peshtigo, Sun Prairie… where does Gard really live anyway?
When Gard failed to show up for a well planned 8th CD debate in Sturgeon Bay a few weeks ago everyone, including Terri McCormick his Republican opponent in the primary, spent the evening deconstructing a range of his issues from the current White House administration’s lies and failure in Iraq to Gard’s efforts to block stem cell research and ethical campaign reform in Wisconsin. Gard probably made a smart decision, choosing to record a no-show in Sturgeon Bay rather than race that day, only to get dropped by the pack.
In every bike race strong contenders are tempted to break away, sprinting off the front of the peloton, then going it alone to maintain and extend their distance from the pursuing melee of the pack. When that racer is an Anquetil, a Merckx or a LeMond they have an unusual combination of strength and endurance built upon years of training. Dr. Kagen is proving to be that kind of contender and he has just broken away from the pack…
The Washington, DC, newspaper Roll Call reports that Dr. Steve Kagen now holds, “a commanding lead over his two Democratic opponents.” The article refers to a poll conducted by Fairbanks, Maslin, Maulin and Associates that shows Kagen leading his opponents with 46% support of the likely voting Democrats surveyed. Former Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum trails with only 20% support and business consultant Jamie Wall garners a scant 3%.
Perhaps the most telling figure in the poll, though, is Nusbaum’s high negative rating, particularly in her base of Brown County. Nearly half of likely Democratic Primary voters in Brown County have an unfavorable opinion of Nusbaum. Brown County will account for 35 percent of the primary vote.
In contrast, Kagen has 59% support in his home county of Outagamie and his strongest supporters are women, particularly those over 50. The poll also shows that Kagen has potential for continued growth. His experience as a local doctor and his well formulated plans to reform health care are squarely in line with voters across the district.
What I like to hear are the voices of so many of my Door County Republican friends who are now telling me they are “Independents” – a sure sign that they are freeing themselves up, getting ready to vote “smart” instead of loyal, looking for progressive leadership regardless of party affiliation.