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Democratic Challenger Exits 7th District Congressional Race

Bangstad Blames Money's Influence In Politics For Scrapped Bid To Unseat Duffy


The only announced Democratic candidate running for U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy’s 7th Congressional District seat has dropped out of the race.

Kirk Bangstad, a Minocqua-area businessman, opera singer, and cancer activist, said he is dropping out after being told by Democratic party insiders that he would need at least $1.5 million in his race against Duffy, a three-term Republican. Thus far, Bangstad has raised about $145,000.

“It’s an unsustainable system that candidates for office need to raise millions of dollars, basically on their own,” Bangstad said. “I didn’t believe in the system and I didn’t believe in what I was doing.”

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Bangstad blamed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC in 2008, and the influence of super PACs and wealthy special interests.

“Democracy is deeply in trouble, deeply in trouble, both in Wisconsin and in the U.S.,” he said.

The sprawling 7th District covers most of northwestern Wisconsin.