RACINE — Hononegah High School in Rockton, Ill., is out for the summer, and so is one of its teachers who also happens to be a Democratic congressional candidate in Wisconsin’s 1st District.
That candidate, Cathy Myers of Janesville, held a meet-and-greet session Tuesday with about a dozen potential voters at The Branch, 1501 Washington Ave., during which she gave a speech and answered questions on a broad swath of issues. It is one of many such events that Myers said she has planned for the summer.
Myers is facing Randy Bryce, an iron worker and union activist from Caledonia, in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary. The winner will face off against the winner of the Republican primary in the Nov. 6 general election. In the Republican field are UW System Regent Bryan Steil of Janesville, Army veteran and security consultant Nick Polce of Lake Geneva and businessman and Delavan resident Paul Nehlen, who has been accused of being a white supremacist.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has represented the 1st District for 20 years, is not seeking re-election. The district includes all of Racine County.
During the speech, Myers, who serves on the Janesville School Board, highlighted her upbringing, past political involvement and 24-year history as a teacher. She also emphasized her focus on meeting with voters and listening to their issues.
“So many campaigns are just about inundating people with ads and flyers — which is a component, definitely — but they avoid the conversation with voters,” Myers told The Journal Times before the speech.
Clina Barrette, a retired nurse and undecided voter from Racine, said she appreciated Myers coming to town for the meet-and-greet and that she wished more voters took advantage of meeting with candidates.
“I wish more people would come see her when she comes out from Janesville,” Barrette said.
Jennifer Palmer, a security supervisor and undecided voter from Caledonia, said that while she appreciates a meet-and-greet, she would prefer to see Myers and Bryce debate or speak at a forum before deciding on a candidate.
Myers did answer various questions about policy, including some about police brutality.
“There are a lot of good people who are police officers, but I really think we need to look into the bodycam issue and make sure that they’re accountable all the time,” Myers said. “And I really believe we have to do a lot more training of our police officers in de-escalation.”
Campaign heats up
Myers enters the summer having raised just short of $1 million in campaign funds, according to Dennis Hughes, Myers’s campaign manager. Bryce had received more than $4.8 million in contributions as of March 31, campaign finances filed with the Federal Election Commission show. As of March 31, Myers had about $177,000 in cash on hand and Bryce had about $2.26 million.
Bryce has been running an aggressive campaign that has included television commercials.
Still, Myers said she is undeterred.
“If money was the only factor, I guess I would consider myself an underdog,” Myers said. “Money is important to a campaign —of course it is — but I wasn’t afraid of Paul Ryan’s money, so why should I be afraid of Randy Bryce’s money?”
On Friday, the Bryce campaign submitted its nomination papers with the maximum required 2,000 signatures.
The campaigns of Steil, Nehlen and Polce did not respond Tuesday to inquiries about their campaigns.