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Ex-revenue secretary, lawmaker, one-term congressman to challenge Steil

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(The Center Square) – Congressman Bryan Steil has a Democratic opponent.

Former one-term Democratic Congressman Peter Barca on Thursday announced he will run against Steil in November.

“My record has been one of creating good-paying jobs and building a world class workforce; lowering costs and delivering tax relief to middle class families; and expanding access to health care. This stands in stark contrast to the do-nothing, dysfunctional Congress we have in Washington,” Barca said in a statement. “We need someone to step up and start going to bat for our families again.”

Barca served one term in Congress, from 1993-1995. Before that he was a Democratic state lawmaker from Kenosha who was first elected in 1985. He returned to the legislature in 2009 and served as the Democratic Assembly leader from 2011 to 2017. He left in 2017, and then two years later he was named as Gov. Tony Evers’ Revenue Secretary. He resigned that position just last month.

“I’m at a point in my career where I think I can — my kids are grown — I think I can make a difference,” Barca told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Steil is looking to win his fourth term in the seat that covers most of southern Wisconsin.

Republicans in Wisconsin on Thursday painted Barca’s announcement as a last-ditch effort to try and make some inroads after the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to change the state’s Congressional maps.

“After desperately rummaging through their attic to find a candidate to run against Congressman Bryan Steil, Wisconsin Democrats are restoring to yet another career politician with an abysmal record,” Wisconsin Republican spokesperson Matt Fisher said. “From his support for sanctuary cities to the inflationary policies of the Biden Administration, Peter Barca is out-of-touch and unconcerned with the needs of working families in Wisconsin.”

Lorenzo Santos, a Democrat from Racine County, has been campaigning for Congress, but hasn’t made much traction.

Campaign finance reports show he’s raised just $12,000 so far this year, compared to the $640,000 that Steil has raised.

Steil enters the 2024 election season well-funded. His campaign finance reports show he has more than $4 million cash-on-hand.

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