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Published January 21, 2010, 08:15 PM

Farmer seeks rematch for congressional seat

Dan Mielke is an organic farmer in Rudolph, Wis., business owner, has worked in the construction trade and as a consultant in house-building industry.

By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram

Dan Mielke is an organic farmer in Rudolph, Wis., business owner, has worked in the construction trade and as a consultant in house-building industry. He’s specialized in helping small farms flourish, worked to certify organic farms, and as an activist in Portage County, helped to create the county executive seat, an elected administrator there.

Now, Mielke is ready for a new title – 7th District Congressional representative from Wisconsin.

Mielke is resurrecting his challenge to replace incumbent Dave Obey, who has served in Washington D.C. for more than four decades. The Democrat from Wausau, Wis., is the ranking member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Mielke was the only Republican to challenge Obey in 2008, and garnered a little more than 39 percent of the vote in the 7th Congressional District.

This week he made campaign stops in the northern reaches of the district, including Superior and Ashland.

The only declared Republican in the November election, Mielke first faces Ashland County District Attorney Sean Duffy in the September primary.

Neither Duffy, who announced his candidacy in July, nor Obey had registered their candidacy as of Tuesday, according to the Wisconsin State Elections Board.

The only other registered candidate in the race is Ken Driessen of Hayward who is running as an independent.

Mielke said he’s a good choice for voters because he’s one of them.

“I’m not in this for the politics,” Mielke said. “I’m in this because I am one of those voters and I’m frustrated and … I’m a strong Constitutional supporter and really, the idea behind government elected officials, is that they’re supposed to be of the voting public. They’re not supposed to be some professional that was put in place, and went to school and was trained to be some politician. So I’m kind of the anti-professional politician.”

It’s the common, everyday citizen who should be represented in Washington D.C., not the special interests, Mielke said.

“I’m more of a tea party, give-us-our-country-back politician I guess you could say,” Mielke said. “I don’t believe in career politicians. They should be doing they’re tour of duty and getting out of the foxholes and get back into life.”

While Mielke is running as a Republican, he has garnered the support of the Constitution Party of Wisconsin. According to Mark Gabriel, second vice chairman and public relations committee chairman, the party looked at both candidates running on the Republican ticket and determined Mielke was a constitutionalist at heart.

“We need more constitutional champions like Dan Mielke in Washington to preserve our liberty and rights,” said Constitution Party Chairman Andrew Zuelke in a statement on the party’s Web site.

“One of the dangers we have in politics is that too many people get in there and they get hung up on the egos, and the power playing and the money, and we lose them,” Mielke said. He said neither money nor power motivate him.

“Dave Obey is basically responsible for breaking our grandchildren’s bank,” Mielke said. “It looks good to see that little community gift that he gives to get votes, but somebody’s paying the price for that, and I have a real struggle with that.”