Former Rep. Peter Barca announces bid for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District - TAI News
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Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, speaks in the Assembly chamber at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., Thursday, March 5, 2015. (M.P. King/Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File)

Former Democratic Rep. Peter Barca on Thursday announced he’s running a comeback bid for the U.S. House of Representatives in Wisconsin, ensuring Democrats will have a top-tier candidate for the state’s most competitive seat. 

Barca is running against Rep. Bryan Steil, a three-term Republican incumbent, in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, which former President Donald Trump carried by just 2 points in 2020, according to data from Daily Kos.

“We have just a do-nothing, dysfunctional Congress, and people are hungry for leadership,” Barca said April 18 at a campaign launch event in Kenosha, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. “I have a long record of bipartisanship, working across the aisle and getting things done for our community… So, now as much as ever, I think we’re at a critical point.”

Barca served one term in Congress, from 1993 to 1995. After losing his race for reelection, Barca went on to serve in former President Bill Clinton’s Small Business Administration. In 2009, Barca won a seat in the Wisconsin Assembly, serving as minority leader from 2011 to 2017. Barca served in the Assembly until 2019, when Democratic Gov. Tony Evers appointed him secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Barca stepped down from that position just before he announced his bid for Congress.

Since announcing, Barca has quickly raised $250,000 and earned the endorsement of a number of high-profile Democrats in the state, including U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan and Gwen Moore, Attorney General Josh Kaul, and former Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. 

“I’m grateful to have the support of so many public servants across Wisconsin and I look forward to working with them to help create family-supporting jobs and lower costs for families, defend reproductive freedom, and protect Social Security and Medicare,” Barca said in a news release. “I’m running for Congress because southeast Wisconsin deserves a leader who puts families over special interests and partisan politics. That’s what I’ve done my entire life, and the momentum our campaign has seen in the last week shows families and community leaders trust me to continue fighting for them in Congress.” 

Former Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan, also a Democrat, was considering a bid to take on Steil. However, after Barca entered the race, he opted out and threw his support behind Barca.

“I feel very strongly that Peter Barca can do this,” Sheridan told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Lawrence Andrea. “We gotta have somebody representing the 1st [Congressional District] that’s willing to speak out against Donald Trump.”

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