Little break for Wright in looking ahead to next campaignSubmitted: 09/20/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

WAUSAU - Mandy Wright went from middle school teacher to state representative less than a year ago.

But like many elected officials, the Wausau Democrat had to start thinking about her next election almost immediately.

It's part of what can seem like a never-ending cycle for lawmakers.

That's especially true for state representatives.

Their terms last just two years.

Wright will be up for reelection again in November 2014.

Last year, she beat Republican nominee and conservative talk show host Pat Snyder by fewer than 1,000 votes.

Wright expects another tough fight to keep her 85th Assembly District seat.

"I haven't heard yet about a candidate that's running against me, but I would be very surprised if the Republican Party does not work very hard to recruit a good candidate that they think can win in my district," she said.

Wright and Snyder's race was one of the three most expensive Assembly races in the state last year.

She might be gearing up for another expensive fight.

Wright already has raised $21,000 this year for her reelection.

That's far ahead of many others in the legislature.

For example, in our area, Rep. Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) raised about $5,000.

Rep. Mary Czaja (R-Tomahawk) raised just $41.

Rep. Janet Bewley (D-Ashland) hasn't reached $600 yet.

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RHINELANDER - A Marathon County man who drove to Rhinelander to meet up with a 15-year-old girl for sex told police he nearly turned around.

Instead, Dustin Zernicke pulled into the Shopko parking lot Friday night and found officers waiting for him.

The 35-year-old Zernicke made his initial appearance in Oneida County Court Monday afternoon.  Undercover officers posted an ad on Craigslist pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.  The post said "Mom sent me [to] Rhinelander for the weekend and I have nothing to do."

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/24/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll update you on the details of a fatal car crash in the Town of Stella that took the life of a teenager late Saturday night.

This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history. But it also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths. No one knows for sure why, but we'll tell you about some possible reasons.

And the Elcho-White Lake High School football team agreed to play an 8-man football game against a nearby high school's team. We'll tell you how it's helping out the nearby team.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MINOCQUA - The Minocqua Town Board always knew it would need to replace Supervisor Bryan Jennings eventually. But the Board didn't think it happen so soon.

Jennings died September 8, two days after he was struck by lightning while walking his dog.

Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim says the Town is now accepting letters of interest from anyone wanting to fill Jennings's seat.

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WAUSAU - This fall Wausau's Woodson Art Museum will bring together artists from all over the world. 

The Birds in Art exhibit gives artists an opportunity to share a piece of themselves with their audience.

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RHINELANDER - We likely won't find out who Rhinelander's next police chief will be until early next year.  But the city is already working to replace Chief Mike Steffes.

Newswatch 12 learned earlier this month Chief Steffes is leaving Rhinelander to take a job with the Department of Justice.

Steffes beat out 34 other candidates to win the chief job in 2007.  Police and Fire Commission President Todd McEldowney expects to see dozens of new applicants this time.

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WISCONSIN - This year marks the third highest bear harvest in state history.

The totals cement Wisconsin's title as the best state in the U.S. for bear harvests with 4,643 registered.

But it wasn't all good news for bear hunters. 

This year also marked the highest number of hunting dog deaths.

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EAGLE RIVER - Many of us already put out the scary decorations and pumpkins for some Halloween spirit. But if you're looking to take it up a notch, dress like a zombie and grab your running shoes this Saturday.

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