|Posted by richardmoore on March 26, 2012 at 10:05 AM|
It’s a question the Democrats should probably be asking themselves when it comes to the 12th Senate District, after Jim Holperin dropped his retirement bombshell last week. That they will have big problems keeping this seat is an understatement.
For one thing, no big Democratic names come immediately to mind, but one Republican does: Rep. Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst. Tiffany has already run that race twice, both times respectably, so he has the infrastructure and the name. Even if he doesn’t get in, there are well known names out there (Joe Handrick is just one, and he issued a statement Friday saying he is keeping his options open).
Whomever the Democrats pick, he or she had better be pro-gun rights. That’s been the Democrats’ bread and butter for years in this district. Former Sen. Roger Breske and Holperin used the old Dave Obey model – just be good on guns and you can pretty much be liberal on everything else. That’s why, in the old days, you could drive around Rhinelander and see a house with three yard signs – one for George W. Bush (when he was running for re-election), one for Republican Rep. Dan Meyer, and the third for Breske.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, that model is getting old and increasingly unworkable. The district has grown more conservative through the year, so it became harder and harder to get away with liberalism just by being pro-gun rights. That’s why Tiffany almost beat Holperin in the Obama/Democratic landslide year, despite Holperin’s NRA endorsement. Plus this year the new district lines tilt the district in an even more conservative fashion.
So what should the Democrats do?