Leibham to run for House

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

SHEBOYGAN – The fall election race is getting more crowded.

State Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, Tuesday became the third Republican to announce his candidacy for the Sixth Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Republican Tom Petri.

Petri, first elected to the House in a special election in 1979 to succeed the late William Steiger, announced earlier this month he would not run for re-election this fall.

That followed the announcement by State Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend that he would challenge Petri in the Republican primary.

State Rep. Duey Strobel of Saukville has also announced his candidacy for the open House seat.

With three candidates so far, Republicans will have a primary Tuesday, Aug. 12, to choose a candidate for the Tuesday, Nov. 4 election.

Tuesday also saw the first Democratic candidate for the seat declare, Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris.

April 15 was the first day candidates could circulate nomination papers and the deadline for filing papers is Monday, June 2 at 5 p.m.

Leibham made his announcement at a press conference at his family home in Sheboygan.

“This decision wasn’t about me being a congressman. It’s about my deep love and appreciation for this country and my desire to ensure that future generations - like my children Andrew, William and Lucy – that they too have the privilege of being a part of the great American experience.”

Leibham said he will be filing a notice of non-candidacy for the 9th District State Senate seat he currently holds. That term ends this year and he must give up the seat, which he has held for three terms, to run for Congress.

Martha Laning, former executive director of the Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition, is running as a Democrat for the 9th District Senate seat. No other candidates, Democrat or Republican, has announced to run for that seat yet.

Before winning a seat in the state Senate in 2002 in a close race against incumbent Democrat Jim Baumgart – which required a lengthy recall to confirm the results – he served two terms in the state Assembly. He worked in the private sector for 11 years as an account executive at Sargento Foods and with the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce.

In his announcement, Leibham pointed to his work with Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature “to reform our state and take it in a much more fiscally responsible and sustainable direction.

“Washington needs to be reformed. And I want to lead that reform.”

Leibham capped his announcement by listing more than 20 endorsements, including former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow and local business leaders including Larry and Lou Gentine, Joe Richardson II, Ralph Stayer and others.

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