Good luck to Todd Kolosso, who has entered the race against incumbent U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. It almost goes without saying that he’ll need it, as the fifth district is very nicely shaped to favor F-Jim’s incumbency, and it is filled with many sympathetic voters. Having volunteered for Democratic challenger Bryan Kennedy in his 2006 bid, and (almost) being married to the former spouse of one of F-Jim’s other challengers in 2004 (follow that?), I have a small sense of what’s involved in the race.
That said, Mr. Kolosso appears to be a different sort of candidate. For one, Kolosso is a small business owner and local real estate investor in F-Jim’s home turf of Menomonee Falls. That background and amount of experience makes him uniquely qualified to take on Sensenbrenner. He has a very direct understanding of what it costs to pay for health insurance for himself and his employees, and he publicly states that he wants health care reform. Moreover, I think his business experience will give him a boost in the minds of fifth district voters. This strikes me as giving him a sort of lingua franca in the area where someone who advocates more for social reforms but has a less traditional background would get ushered out in the primary election.
The race has hardly begun, and Kolosso may not be the only one to enter. (Gary Kohlenberg, where are you?) It will be curious to see if Kolosso or any other future opponents make any headway against the 16-term incumbent in an ostensibly comfortable district.