You would be blind not to see that the 2024 campaign season has begun. It probably began before the 2022 election was anywhere near over, but that is a topic for another time. These days there are candidates announcing for President and making the required trips into early voting states and in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District postcards slamming Congressman Derrick Van Orden are arriving in the mail. Maybe the biggest surprise is the talk of Wisconsin Congressman Tom Tiffany (R-7th) to run against incumbent US Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in the 2024 election!
Although I had heard these rumblings before, the possibility was validated at the recent Republican Party of Wisconsin’s State Convention recently held in La Crosse. There was a Straw Ballot with 321 participants that gave Rep. Tiffany 106 votes (33.0%). Following a ways behind were former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark with 57 votes (17.8%), Marine Veteran, business consultant, and former candidate Kevin Nicholson with 52 votes (16.2%), former LT Governor candidate Roger Roth with 34 votes (10.6%), and businessman and former US Senate candidate Eric Hovde with 28 votes (8.7%). Maybe also significant were the write-ins (22 votes) and “no votes” (20 votes) which together totaled 13.1%. I think that Tom Tiffany gathering 33.0% of the total votes, and having a lead by a significant margin, is noteworthy.
In an insignificant survey at the same Convention with only 34 respondents, only four candidates received more than one vote: former LT Governor Candidate Cindy Werner (4), Rep. Tom Tiffany (3), former Rep Sean Duffy (2), and Rep Derrick Van Orden (2). It is unknown if there was a lack of respondents or if there were technical difficulties in compiling the results, but I believe these votes are worthy of mention both for who got them and who did not..
So, who is Tom Tiffany? He lists his profession as Dam Tender and has a BS in Agricultural Economics. He was in his second term on his Town Board of Supervisors when he was elected to the State Assembly in 2010. He was elected to the State Senate (12th District) in 2012 and re-elected in 2014, 2016, & 2018. He won the 7th Congressional District Representative Special Election in May of 2020 and was re-elected in November of that year and again in 2022.
I first became aware of State Senator Tom Tiffany when he was addressing the wolf issue in Wisconsin. This particular issue was of interest due to the then two wolf packs on nearby Fort McCoy and I supported his primary efforts. In the 2020 Special Election for the 7th District Representative I supported his opponent, a Combat Veteran. Later in 2021 I wrote an article extolling the excellence of the three Republican Wisconsin Congressmen that each had experience in the State Senate: Congressmen Scott Fitzgerald (R-5th), Glenn Grothman (R-6th), and Tom Tiffany (R-7th).
Congressman Tiffany’s experiences in elected office especially as Representative from Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District qualify him to be a formidable candidate for the US Senate. The 7th District includes parts or all of more than two dozen counties (Wisconsin has 72 counties) and borders on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Lake Superior, and northern Minnesota. The 7th District includes the majority of Wisconsin’s Cranberry Country, National Forests, agricultural lands, and many other natural resources. The 7th District is our neighbor as it lies to the north and includes parts of Monroe and Jackson Counties as well as Juneau and Wood Counties a little further to the east.
Congressman Tiffany will make a good candidate, but not a perfect one. Former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clark probably knows more about law enforcement. Former Marine Combat Veteran and business consultant for strategic planning probably knows more about the Military, Veterans Affairs, International Relations, and the needs of big business. Former LT Governor Candidate Roger Roth who is in the Military Reserve and runs a family construction company will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience as well. Consider the “total person” when carefully picking a candidate!
If Congressman Tiffany runs for US Senate in 2024, who will run for the 7th District Representative? There are probably many good candidates, but State Senators Mary Felzkowski (R-12th) and Jesse James (R-23rd) are two to be considered. Feltzkowski is a successful insurance agent and a leader in the insurance industry. James has a varied background in law enforcement and related first responder activities. They both fit the Grothman, Fitzgerald, Tiffany mold of being in the State Senate and will bring some valuable experiences to the table. There are undoubtedly others.
Primary Day 2024 is still more than 13 months away and I am sure more candidates for US Senate will surface. Representative Tom Tiffany’s name has already surfaced as a formidable candidate and, if he decides to run, could be campaigning against Sen Tammy Baldwin next fall and even may be the next Senator from Wisconsin!