Democrats Zunker, Dale announce candidacy for Wisconsin's 7th DistrictSubmitted: 10/14/2019
Stephen Goin
Stephen Goin

Democrats Zunker, Dale announce candidacy for Wisconsin's 7th District
NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN - A pair of Democratic hopefuls will enter the race for Sean Duffy's former seat in Congress. Tricia Zunker and Lawrence Dale both announced their candidacy Monday morning, joining several Republicans already in the race.

"For generations, my family has worked this land and been a fabric of this community. I'm running for Congress to be a voice for the people of Northwest Wisconsin," said Zunker.

Zunker is a lawyer, Associate Justice of the Ho-Chunk National Supreme Court and president of the Wausau School Board. Her father served in the Army Reserves and retired as a Master Sergeant; her mother is a "proud union member" who served as a union secretary for over a decade. Zunker is a first generation college graduate who attended UW-Madison.

In her campaign announcement, Zunker said she's fighting for people, not party.

"Washington isn't delivering for families paying too much for healthcare, farmers who are being squeezed by the ongoing trade war and seniors who are struggling to pay for prescription drugs," said Zunker.

If elected, Zunker would be Wisconsin's first Native American representative in Congress.

At his campaign launch in Madison, Lawrence Dale established himself as a fierce opponent of the president.

"The reason I'm running for Congress is because our nation is at a critical juncture," said Dale. "The Trump administration has undermined our constitution in so many ways that we feel this special election will give the citizens of the 7th Congressional District an opportunity to voice their opposition to this corrupt Trump administration."

Dale is a business man and Vietnam veteran. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a Master's degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. Dale secured 1.3% of votes as a Green Party candidate for the 7th District in 2014. Dale also ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for Wisconsin State Assembly District 34 in 2016.

Zunker and Dale are among a field of six in the yet to be called special election. In early October, Governor Tony Evers called off a December 30th primary and January 27th election after the U.S. Department of Justice found those dates violated federal law.

"I am concerned that politics are at play and we need to get this election date scheduled," said Rep. Rob Swearingen. "The biggest reason is the people in the 7th Congressional District are currently unrepresented in Washington, D.C."

On Friday, Swearingen and 16 other Assembly Republicans in the 7th District sent a joint letter to the governor calling on Evers to declare special election dates. The representatives also accused Evers of attempted voter suppression.

The winner of the special election will serve through the end of 2020. The incumbent would then have to run again next November.

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