Gallagher, Nelson debate for 8th Congressional District

Mike Gallagher, Tom Nelson photos

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Both candidates vying for Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District seat faced off in a debate Monday night.

Republican Mike Gallagher and Democrat Tom Nelson talked about a number of key issues, including national security, the minimum wage, taxes and balancing the budget.

On keeping Social Security solvent, Nelson said, “My plan to save and strengthen Social Security is pretty straight forward. If you make more than $118,000 a year, you should pay more into the Social Security fund. That’s two-and-a-half times the average household income of the average Northeast Wisconsin resident. Simply asking them to contribute more would go a long way to make sure Social Security is here for future generations.”

Gallagher said, “We can’t politicize this issue. As the AARP said, every year we do that, every year we fail to lead, we make the problem worse. Benefits are going to be cut by more than 20 percent in less than 20 years if we continue to do this. That’s why as I’ve said from the start, I’m committed to protecting and preserving Social Security. If you send me to Washington, I will work with people from both side of the aisle to arrive at a 100 percent fix.”

Republican Reid Ribble currently holds the seat. He’s not running for another term.

After the debate, both sides released statements declaring their candidate’s victory:

Tonight, the stark contrast between Marine veteran Mike Gallagher and career politician Thomas Nelson has never been clearer. Thomas Nelson, a career politician who has run for four different offices in just eight years, decided to distract the voters away from his disastrous record of higher taxes, more spending, and more regulations, and instead dishonorably doubled down on his dishonest attacks. Meanwhile, Mike remained laser focused on his common-sense, conservative vision for change for the voters of the 8th District. Despite tonight’s victory, this campaign will continue working as hard as possible for the citizens of Northeast Wisconsin to get government off of our backs, out of our wallets, and once again make it a government that works for We the People.”  – Mike for Wisconsin campaign manager Jared Bombaci

Tonight, voters saw firsthand that Tom Nelson is the only candidate in the race for the 8th Congressional District who will put hard-working, middle-class families first. He supports protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicaid. In Washington, Tom will fight to keep well-paying jobs in Wisconsin and protect them from being shipped overseas. On the other hand, Mike Gallagher will focus on prioritizing the needs of the ultra-wealthy and his corporate friends who line his campaign coffers.

“If that weren’t troubling enough, tonight Gallagher doubled-down on being Northeast Wisconsin’s biggest supporter of the dangerous and divisive candidacy of Donald Trump. Unfortunately for the people of the 8th Congressional District, Gallagher continues to endorse a candidate who has a record of growing his wealth on the backs of hard-working families, who’s proposed dangerous policy and fans the flames of hate with divisive rhetoric. It seems like there is no line Trump can cross to make Mike Gallagher withdraw his endorsement.” – Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Martha Laning