By JIM ANDERSON
FLORENCE, Wis. - Wisconsin voters will go to the polls for a primary election on Tuesday, the first since legislative and congressional districts were redrawn to account for population shifts in the 2010 census.
Under the new boundaries, Florence County is moving from the 8th Congressional District - served by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-De Pere - to the 7th, home to U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston.
The county is also moving from Wisconsin's 36th Assembly District - served by State Rep. Jeffrey Mursau, R-Crivitz - to the 34th, where incumbent State Rep. Dan Meyer, R-Eagle River, is not seeking re-election.
Northern Marinette County is unaffected, and will remain in both the 8th Congressional District and the 36th Assembly District.
The redrawn 34th Assembly District includes all of Florence County, nearly all of Vilas County, northern Forest County and the majority of Oneida County, including the city of Rhinelander. Six candidates - two Democrats, two Republicans and two Independents - have filed to replace Meyer.
The Democratic candidates are Roberta Retrum, an Eagle River retiree and activist, and Merlin Van Buren, a school board member and retail purchasing agent in Rhinelander.
The Republican candidates are Rob Swearingen, a Rhinelander businessman and president of the Wisconsin Tavern League, and Alex Young, president of the Rhinelander City Council.
The Independent candidates are Todd Albano, an Army veteran who works full-time while volunteering with the Arbor Vitae Fire Department and Rescue Squad, and Kevin FitzPatrick, a Minocqua resident and teacher/coach at Lakeland Union High School.
The redrawn 36th Assembly District includes the southern half of Forest County, eastern Langlade County, Menominee County, the western half of Oconto County and most of Marinette County north of Marinette and Peshtigo. Mursau is unopposed in the Aug. 14 Republican primary. The lone Democratic candidate is Dorothy Kegley of Crandon, Wis., a former mayor of that Forest County city.
In the 12th Senate District (comprised of the 34th, 35th and 36th Assembly Districts) incumbent Democrat Jim Holperin of Conover is not seeking re-election.
Tom Tiffany of Hazelhurst is the only Republican candidate for Holperin's seat. Tiffany currently represents the 35th Assembly District, having been elected to a two-year term in 2010.
Democratic candidates in the 12th Senate District are Susan Sommer of Phelps and Lisa Theo of Tomahawk.
Sommer is a practicing attorney and formerly worked as a prosecutor in Milwaukee and Jefferson counties. Theo is a professor of geography and geology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. There is also a Libertarian candidate - Nicolet College professor Paul Ehlers of Rhinelander.
Ribble and Duffy, who are completing their first terms in Congress, are unopposed in their respective Republican primaries. In the 8th Congressional District, the lone Democratic candidate is Green Bay businessman Jamie Wall.
In the 7th Congressional District, Duffy faces a challenge in November from Democrat Pat Kreilow of Chippewa Falls, a former state senator. Dale Lehner, a medical equipment services director in Prairie Lake, is an Independent candidate.
Jim Anderson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.