Dan Kapanke announces campaign bid for 32nd Senate District seat

A well-known face in the La Crosse area is jumping back into the political scene.

As we reported this weekend, former Republican State Sen. Dan Kapanke is going to run for his old seat in the Senate.

Owner of the La Crosse Loggers, Dan Kapanke is no stranger to politics, but for the past five years Kapanke has been living in the private sector

“I had fun. I enjoyed myself and it was good,” said Kapanke.

However, Kapanke said a couple of months ago he realized it’s time to get back in the political ring.

“There are still some challenges we need to address. At the top of my list is transportation,” said Kapanke.

Kapanke filed his papers with the intent to run on Friday with the Government Accountability Board and on Monday, he officially announces his candidacy for the 32nd Senate District.

“My name is on the ballot. I’ve registered,” said Kapanke.

Kapanke held that Senate seat in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008. However, during a historic recall election in 2011, Kapanke lost his seat to now Democratic Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling

Matt Ullsvik with the State Senate Democratic Committee released a statement saying, “Voters overwhelmingly rejected Mr. Kapanke in 2010 and 2011 after he sided with Gov. (Scott) Walker over local families.”

Kapanke said the recall was part of the political process at the time.

“I have no problems, no issues with it whatsoever. Act 10 is something I stood for. I stand for today and the results are in and the results are very very positive for all of Wisconsin,” said Kapanke.

“Well five years later, I think if people would have had time before the election to see the results, they might have voted differently. If we look at the results five years later, we actually see $5 billion  worth of relief for local and state taxpayers,” said Walker.

Kapanke said the past is the past and he is ready to get back to business, serving the people of Western Wisconsin again.

“There is so much more we can do,” said Kapanke.

Ullsvik said in a statement, “We need to move Wisconsin forward – not backwards. The last thing we need in Wisconsin is another rubber-stamp for Gov. Walker’s special interest agenda… Jennifer Shilling has proven that she’s not afraid to stand up to special interests to protect local families and move our state forward.”

Kapanke called Shilling on Friday letting her know that he was going to run for Senate.

Political analyst Joe Heim said it is going to be a very competitive race. He said Shilling is the incumbent and the Democratic Minority leader which will give her an advantage, but Kapanke has strong name identification and has experience in the Senate seat.

The candidates will begin circulating nomination papers. Those are due back to the GAB by June 1.