OSHKOSH - A handful of people are hoping to takeover for retiring Republican Representative Tom Petri.
The 6th Congressional District stretches from Wautoma to the west, to Manitowoc in the northeast, and Port Washington to the southeast. The candidates agree the district has plenty of land to cover during campaigning.
For the first time Tuesday evening, the four Republican candidates were together in one place. They took turns answering questions from Winnebago County voters. The candidates say it's a vital area for their race.
“Well it's an area that is furthest from where all of us live and Winnebago County is the biggest county,” said State Sen. Glenn Grothman of Campbellsport.
Grothman says that's why he established his headquarters in Oshkosh.
“I've always been intrigued by the Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha area when I've been up here and I think I have a special ability to connect to the values of Winnebago County,” said Grothman.
State Sen. Joe Leibham of Sheboygan says it's important to hit each area in the 6th District.
“We've been in every one of the ten counties, visiting small towns, bigger cities, parades, different community events, knocking on doors,” said Leibham.
State Rep. Duey Stroebel of Saukville says the district's wide landscape makes all the campaign tools important, including forums.
“It's a great opportunity for the voters to come see side-by-side each candidate, get an answer, get a question and see how each of them answers,” said Stroebel.
While Grothman, Leibham, and Stroebel have some name recognition as state lawmakers, Oshkosh's Tom Denow is running his first political campaign.
“You've got career politicians and people who've always been in politics,” said Denow. “You need somebody who has experience in business and industry in education.”
While the four Republicans look to prove themselves before August's primary, Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is the race's lone Democrat.
“I feel like I'm fairly well known in Winnebago County,” said Harris. “I'm in my third term and I've done better in each election, so I really have to focus on the other nine counties where I'm not a known name.”
Harris will face the winner of the Republican primary in November.
The forum was at Robbins Restaurant and was put on by Winnebago County's chapter of the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women.