- Two candidates recently announced they will be running to succeed Representative Tom Tiffany in the 35th Assembly District.
The twist? They're both longtime Tomahawk residents and good friends.
Democrat Kevin Koth and Republican Mary Czaja entered the race after Tiffany annouced he'd be pursuing a run for State Senate.
Both Tomahawk natives, Koth, a semi-chemical operator at Packaging Corporation of America and the Bradley Town Chair, and Czaja, the owner of CIS Group insurance, have known each other a long time.
"I know Mary from school. She was a few years behind me. We've been friends - our daughters were in volleyball together," said Koth.
"We've interacted over the years. I have great respect for Kevin...I just think we probably have different formative ideas on how things should be done," remarked Czaja.
Both candidates believe their respect for one another will lead to a clean campaign.
Koth and Czaja told me they hope to introduce themselves personally to voters in the district, which includes all of Lincoln and most of Langlade County.
"I want to knock on as many doors as possible from now until the time of the election," Czaja said. "I want to know what people need."
"Yes, it's going to be doors, it's going to be phone calls, I've got a Facebook site up and running," Koth agreed.
Koth and Czaja are the second and third candidates to jump in the race, after independent Patrick Tjugum declared last month.
Despite their differing careers, Koth and Czaja see the same issue on top of the campaign this year.
"Number one is the economy. We need job growth. And with job growth comes increased tax revenues so then the state is able to help people who need help more," said Czaja.
"Our unemployment rate is high. We need to bring jobs in, good paying jobs, and keep jobs here in the 35th Assembly District," Koth said.
Of course, the two don't see eye to eye on everything.
Governor Scott Walker's push to strip collective bargaining from public worker unions is a particular point of difference.
"That was an overstep on the legislative position because the public service sector agreed to the healthcare increases, they agreed to the increase in the pension," Koth said. "What they didn't agree to was to have their voice stripped from the collective bargaining rights."
"We're starting to see the effects and the positives on it, and in the long run it was the right thing to do," opined Czaja.