A fresh face has decided to enter the race for Wisconsin’s second congressional district, while new endorsements may even the playing field in the race for Wisconsin’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Matt Silverman, a University of Wisconsin graduate and decorated Army veteran, will formally announce his intention to run against Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, for a Wisconsin seat in the House of Representatives currently held by Democrat Tammy Baldwin. 

Silverman said he believes he can bring a new perspective to Washington to change a “broken system.”

“I’m not a politician, and because of that, I don’t have political ties or ties to fundraisers or organizations,” Silverman said. “I can bring an open mind and a willingness to work toward actual solutions to our problems, which I don’t think Congress today is doing.”

After graduating from the UW with a degree in political science in 2004, Silverman spent four years as an officer in the U.S. Army and was deployed in Iraq in 2007 as a part of the airborne division, according to his campaign website. Upon his return to Madison in 2008, Silverman attended UW Law School and worked at a local law firm after his graduation in 2010.       

Silverman said that his campaign will differ from others’ in that he will only accept individual donations.

“I think that there’s too much money in politics, and I don’t believe it’s necessary,” Silverman said. “I don’t believe money buys votes, and I’m going to prove it [with my campaign].”

Roys said she welcomed Silverman to the race and said the addition will create an “exciting” opportunity for Wisconsin’s second district to discuss important issues facing Wisconsin and the nation.

Roys also expressed her respect for Silverman as a potential competitor for the seat.

“As a state legislator, I have tremendous respect for anyone who decides to put his or her name on a ballot and serve the public,” Roys said.

Silverman also stressed the importance of primary elections and said the changes needed in Congress start with individuals showing up and voting at these primaries.

In another race for a congressional seat, former congressman Mark Neumann, a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, was recently endorsed by prominent Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee chaired by DeMint, released a statement expressing concerns that former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, also a candidate in the race, would increase government spending.

“We’ve endorsed Mark Neumann because he has the strongest conservative record in the field, he has the support of the grassroots and he’s in the best position to win this race for freedom-loving Americans,” the committee said in its statement. “Tommy Thompson’s liberal record makes winning this race even more important.”

Donald Downs, UW political science professor, said although DeMint’s endorsement was helpful for politicians’ campaigns in the past, the U.S. senator does not have as much political clout in Wisconsin.

“I don’t know how much weight he has in Wisconsin, but he’s confirming what is already being said by the more socially conservative parts of the Republican Party,” Downs said. “The [Republican] Party already has doubts about Thompson because of his record of government spending.”

According to Downs, DeMint’s endorsement may create a split in the Republican primary between Neumann and Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who may receive more of Wisconsin’s conservative votes, and Thompson, who may receive the more moderate votes.

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