Fifteen years ago, Tom Tiffany ran to represent northern Wisconsin in the state legislature for the first time.
He lost twice before finally winning an Assembly seat in 2010.
After two years, the Minocqua Republican moved up to the state Senate, and now wants to take another step.
On Tuesday morning, standing before a crowd wearing white shirts and waving blue signs with his name, Tiffany announced he’s running for an open seat in Congress. He’s the first declared candidate.
“If you elect me, we, the people in Wisconsin, we will be heard,” he said behind a podium.
Tiffany hopes to replace Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wausau), who will resign midway through his fifth term to support his wife and nine children.
If Tiffany wins, he’ll join a Congress controlled by Democrats, who he says push socialist ideas.
“Are we socialists or are we Americans? Socialism crushes optimism. Liberty and freedom will overcome the darkness of socialism,” Tiffany said. “I will stand with President Trump against socialism so my daughters, who are blazing their own paths to the future, will have the same prosperity that we have.”
State Rep. Rob Swearingen called Tiffany a conservative Republican, a reformer who supports the Constitution and the Second Amendment.
“Tom is certainly the frontrunner. He’s the first one to announce. If you’re thinking about running this race, you might think twice if you have to challenge Tom Tiffany,” Swearingen said.
Twenty-three-year-old Taylor Pitlik stood behind Tiffany, holding a sign as he made his announcement.
“He is the perfect candidate. He makes the right decisions and isn’t afraid to take hard stances to support his decisions,” Pitlik said. “When he was in the legislature, he wasn’t afraid to take hard stances and the right stances. He was really just a good voice for the people of northern Wisconsin. He stands for the tourism industry and the industry in the Northwoods.”
Tiffany planned to make seven stops across northern and western Wisconsin on Tuesday and Wednesday to kick off his campaign.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will announce the date of a special election to fill Duffy’s seat. That will come after Duffy’s official resignation on Sep. 23.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin introduced the label “Toxic Tom Tiffany” after Tuesday’s announcement.