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GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL ROUNDUP: A fourth Republican announces his candidacy to unseat Ron Kind

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GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL ROUNDUP: A fourth Republican announces his candidacy to unseat Ron Kind
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

Republicans keep lining up to challenge House Democrat Ron Kind of La Crosse this fall.  Retired Army veteran Tony Kurtz, a business owner in Prairie du Chien, has become the fourth potential G-O-P candidate for the Third District House seat.  He said he wants to help achieve a balanced budget, deficit reduction, more jobs, and better health care.  If he files, Kurtz faces a potential mid-August primary against three other Republicans who've announced their candidates -- former Ron Johnson staffer Chris Anderson, former Mauston alderman Ken Van Doren, and Karen Mueller of Chippewa Falls.  Kind is in his 14th year in Congress.  He says he's focused on doing his job, instead of plotting to keep that job come November.  Kind said campaigns start too early, and cost too much.

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State Senate President Mike Ellis admits that he talked about creating an illegal political action committee to attack his first election challenger in 16 years.  Ellis told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he scrapped the idea after he learned it would not be legal.  That's because the "Super PAC" would have been independent of his campaign, and it's illegal for candidates to coordinate with outside groups.  Ellis, a long-time Senate Republican from Neenah, is challenged this fall by Assembly Democrat Penny Bernard Schaber of Appleton.  The conservative Project Veritas secretly recorded Ellis at a bar near the State Capitol about two weeks ago.  In the video, he talked about building a separate operation with up to a half-million dollars in which his fund-raiser, Judi Rhodes Engels, would coordinate attacks on his opponent.  She denied talking about the matter with Ellis -- and she resigned from the Ellis campaign a few hours after the video and highlights of it went on You-Tube.  Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chris Larson called it an example of Republicans quote, "looking to do whatever they can to remain in power."  The Journal Sentinel said other Ellis opponents called his move hypocritical, after he spent years pushing for campaign finance reform.

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Wisconsin Assembly Democrats want the governor to order lawmakers back to Madison, to complete what they call unfinished business.  Minority Leader Peter Barca told reporters yesterday that Democrats wants action on two dozen of their bills aimed at helping the middle class.  Barca cited a hike in the minimum wage and a task force on clean-energy jobs among the measures that majority Republicans either ignored or rejected in the regular two-year session which ended last week.  The G-O-P controls both houses -- especially the Assembly, where Democrats hold just 39 of the 99 seats.  The Democrats also want an expansion of Medicaid coverage under Obama-care, more steps to make private voucher schools more accountable, and other measures involving jobs, education, and unemployment benefits.  Barca called it "the people's agenda."  Assistant Minority Leader Sandy Pasch said the session ended too soon.  Governor Scott Walker has said he would call a special session if the State Supreme Court does not uphold the 2011 photo I-D requirement for voting.

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About 30 senior cadets at West Point are taking on the National Security Agency in a simulated four-day battle in cyberspace.  John Zeidler of Milwaukee is among the cadets competing in the annual Cyber Defense Exercise which is wrapping up today.  Zeidler and the others are fending off computer threats cooked up by the N-S-A.  The exercise will determine which of the five military service academies can best create computer networks that can withstand barrages like those N-S-A is serving up.  Zeidler says the cadets are quote, "playing ball against a major league team ... and that's why it's so much fun."  He says it's not real combat, but the cyber-battles are still very stressful.  Other cadets call it the Army-Navy game for electrical engineering.  Some cadets hope to specialize in cyber operations when they become Army officers. 

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