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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Republicans stand together

Citing a shared disapproval of U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold’s tenure in the nation’s Capitol, Russ Darrow, Tim Michels and state Sen. Bob Welsh signed a unity pledge, joining forces in their bid to put a Wisconsin Republican in the U.S. Senate.

In the pledge, the three Republican candidates indicate their strong displeasure with the way Feingold has represented Wisconsin, and stress that by working together they can bring a better leader to Washington.

“Each candidate has a common goal — beat Russ Feingold,” Eric Schutt, Darrow’s press secretary, said. Schutt added that since there is not much time in between September’s primary and November’s general election, it is important for the Republicans to get their message out early.

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In the pact, the candidates assert their objective of running positive, issue-based campaigns. They argue that Feingold has pursued an agenda out of step with the people of Wisconsin, ignoring issues like job creation, taxes, border security and health care in favor of “fringe” issues such as gay marriage and a defense of the death tax.

“Russ Feingold claims to know Wisconsin like the back of his hand, but when the citizens of this great state asked him to deliver tax relief, asked him to help President Bush protect America from our enemies, asked him to work to jumpstart the economy and bring new jobs to Wisconsin, that’s exactly what Russ Feingold gave the people of Wisconsin — the back of his hand,” Welsh said in a release.

Feingold’s campaign dismisses the pledge as “negative” campaigning and says the Republican allegations that Feingold does not work on issues affecting the people of Wisconsin are off base.

“Senator Feingold, as he always has, will run a positive and spirited campaign about his work on the issues that affect Wisconsinites,” George Aldrich, Feingold’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “His campaign will be focused on his efforts to protect Wisconsin jobs, to fight for affordable and quality health care, to ensure fiscal discipline with taxpayer dollars, and to fight terrorism while protecting our civil liberties.”

The Republican candidates acknowledge that for one of them to be ultimately successful in November, the Republican Party will have to be united. They believe the pledge will ensure they remain focused on defeating Feingold instead of fighting among themselves, a strategy often referred to as Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment — don’t speak ill of your fellow Republican, according to UW political science professor Kenneth R. Mayer.

“We want to fire our bullets at the incumbent, not at each other,” Welsh said.

Ousting Feingold will not be an easy task, however. Polls show a “safe” lead for the two-term senator, who was first elected to the Senate in 1992.

“No doubt, Feingold is the favorite,” Mayer said. “It’s not a complete lock, but it will certainly be an uphill battle for the Republicans.”

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