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Aug. 12 primary will choose party candidates for Congress

In St. Croix County primaries are scheduled Aug. 12 to choose both a Republican and a Democrat candidate in the 7th Congressional District.

During this partisan primary, voters may vote on the ballot of only one party. Sean Duffy is the 7th District incumbent.

Democratic candidates for the congressional seat are:

Mike Krsiean, Houlton, who ran for Congress as an Independent in 2010.

He calls himself a “JFK Democrat,” saying John F. Kennedy believed in a smaller federal government, cutting taxes and a balanced budget and was a defender of civil liberties for all.

Krsiean graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in aerospace engineering and then worked as a design engineer at various aerospace and mechanical businesses. He currently provides engineering services through his own company, Visionary Engineering.

He and his wife, Annie, live on a 26-acre farm where they raise grass-fed beef, pork and chickens.

Krsiean’s website is

Kelly Westlund, Ashland, who grew up in a military family and spent much of her life in the South. She settled in northern Wisconsin after earning her degree in Peace, Conflict and Global Studies from Northland College in Ashland.

Westlund worked with a local nonprofit, Alliance for Sustainability, focusing on sustainable community and economic development. As a small business owner, she spent the last three years working with the Bayfield Regional Food Producers Cooperative.

Westlund served on the Ashland City Council from 2011-2014, is a graduate of Leadership Wisconsin and is member of the Young Elected Officials Network.

Westlund’s website is

Republican candidates in the 7th District are:

Sean Duffy, Wausau, who was elected to Congress in 2010.

He says he is “one of the most transparent and accessible members to ever represent” the district. Since his election, he’s held more than 50 public town-hall style meetings in all 20 counties of the district and traveled to parades, fairs and dairy breakfasts.

Duffy worked his way through college by performing in lumberjack shows and exhibitions. After graduating from law school he practiced law two years in Hayward before becoming a special prosecutor in Ashland, then acting assistant district attorney and later Ashland County DA.

Duffy’s website is

Don Raihala, Superior, whose career thus far has included working as an accountant, purchasing agent, construction project manager, landlord, housing resale investor, real estate broker and property manager.

He has owned or co-owned several businesses in the construction and landscaping trades and currently owns a real estate business -- State Lands Realty.

He graduated from UW-Superior in 1990 with majors in accounting and finance.

“The U.S. government is currently spending at an accelerated pace, beating the drum of economic recovery as the reasoning and totally ignoring the nearly insurmountable buildup of the national debt,” said Raihala.

His website is


On the statewide level, these primaries will be held:

Democratic Party: Governor – Mary Burke of Madison against Brett Hulsey, Madison; lieutenant governor – John Lehman of Racine against Mary Jo Walters, Madison; attorney general – Susan V. Happ of Jefferson, Ismael Ozanne of Madison against Jon Richards, Milwaukee; state treasurer – Dave Leeper of Madison against David L. Sartori, Cudahy.

Republican Party: Secretary of state – Julian Bradley of La Crosse against Garey Bies, Sister Bay; state treasurer – Matt Adamczyk of Wauwatosa against Randall Melchert, Menomonee Falls.


There is also a race in St. Croix County, but it involves write-in campaigns. Clerk of Court Lori Meyer announced her resignation earlier this summer to accept a new position in Minnesota. The announcement came too late to get her name off the Republican ballot, or to get anyone else’s on either the Republican or Democrat ballot.

At least two Democrats have announced that they are write-in candidates for the office. Katie Thurmes of Somerset and Kristi Severson of New Richmond have announced write-in campaigns on the Democrat side of the ballot.

The winning Democrat will have their name on the November ballot, but it is likely that Meyer’s name may survive the primary and still be on the ballot in November. As of press time, no Republican has announced a primary write-in campaign to try and replace Meyer’s name on the Republican side of the November ballot.

For Tuesday’s results go to

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.

(715) 426-1049