Everything you need to know about today’s primary
Political rookie Paul Nehlen’s longshot bid to unseat House Speaker Paul Ryan will be the unexpected highlight of the Wisconsin primary.
Ryan rarely even has a primary challenger, but Nehlen’s unexpected boost from Donald Trump made the race one to watch just in case the unthinkable happens and Ryan on Tuesday becomes the first House speaker to lose a primary.
Another big race is in the Green Bay area, where several Republicans are vying in a primary for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Reid Ribble.
Some things to know about the primary:
Ryan vs. Nehlen is a blowout — on paper.
Nehlen, from Williams Bay, is running his first campaign and he’s doing it against the highest-ranking Republican in the country. Ryan has outraised him 17-1 and is endorsed by the National Rifle Association, Wisconsin Right to Life and all 16 GOP legislators in the district.
But Nehlen, the senior vice president of water filtration company Neptune Benson, got plenty of national attention last week when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump praised him and said he wasn’t ready to endorse Ryan. Trump relented a few days later.
Upsets happen. Just ask Eric Cantor, the House majority leader who was knocked off in his 2014 primary by a tea party challenger.
Still, a Nehlen victory would be nothing short of shocking; Ryan is immensely popular in his district.
MELEE IN THE 8th
Three candidates are vying for the GOP nomination in northeastern Wisconsin’s 8th District after incumbent Republican Reid Ribble decided not to seek a fourth term.
They are state Sen. Frank Lasee, of De Pere; Terry McNulty, a Forestville surveyor; and Mike Gallagher, of Green Bay. Gallagher, who served as national security adviser for Gov. Scott Walker’s short-lived presidential campaign, had a huge money advantage, raising more than $1 million between January and late July. Lasee raised $323,000 and McNulty just $6,240 over the same period.
Democrat Tom Nelson, the Outagamie County executive and a former state representative, awaits the winner in the November general election.
Three congressional incumbents, an ousted senator looking to make a comeback and a prominent state lawmaker are locked in their own primary fights.
In western Wisconsin’s 3rd District, Democratic Rep. Ron Kind faces former high school history teacher Myron Bucholz of Eau Claire. Kind, a 10-term incumbent from La Crosse, raised $1.7 million over the first half of 2016, compared with Bucholz’s $27,000.
Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore faces convicted felon Gary George in southeastern Wisconsin’s 4th District. Moore, a five-term incumbent, easily beat George, a former state senator, in 2014. The winner will face Libertarian Andy Craig, of Milwaukee, in November.
Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, who starred on MTV’s “The Real World” before running for Congress, will face Donald Raihala in a GOP primary in northern Wisconsin’s 7th District. Mary Hoeft and Joel Lewis square off in a Democratic primary.
Russ Feingold has been running for months against GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in a rematch of their 2010 Senate race, but on Tuesday he needs to get past Scott Harbach to nail down the Democratic nomination.
The legislative primary slate features a bid by Democratic state Rep. Mandela Barnes of Milwaukee to unseat Sen. Lena Taylor, a member of the powerful budget-writing committee. In the Assembly, Rep. Josh Zepnick, a Milwaukee Democrat convicted of first-offense drunken driving last year, is trying to fend off Marisabel Cabrera.
Voters must show photo ID. Two federal judges have ruled people who can’t obtain IDs can vote by affidavit or with a special receipt from the state Department of Transportation, but those decisions won’t take effect until November. Polling place locations can be found online .
The primary is open, which means people don’t have to be registered members of a party to vote in that party’s primary. But people can’t vote in both parties’ primaries. The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.