Sunday, September 17, 2006

Peg does the right thing

Peg Lautenschlager shows some class. It had to be a hard thing to do. Good for her.
Lautenschlager offers support for party at rally
Losers in House race also at Democratic event

Green Bay - Four days after she was unseated by a fellow Democrat, state Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager appeared at a party-unity rally with her recent rival, Kathleen Falk, and pledged to work her "hardest" for the ticket in November.

"I'm a Democrat," Lautenschlager said Saturday when asked if she had a hard time deciding whether to attend the event.

Falk, the Dane County executive, told an auditorium full of vocal partisans that "primaries are not easy among families," and that she was grateful for Lautenschlager's support.

The event was conceived by U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold a few months ago in anticipation of hard-fought primaries for both attorney general and the 8th Congressional District seat. Feingold said he sought commitments from the candidates back then to appear together afterward, win or lose.

Also speaking Saturday were all three candidates for that House seat, along with Gov. Jim Doyle, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl and Lt. Gov. Barb Lawton.

Feingold emceed what was an unusual partisan rally, in which speakers acknowledged the awkward and divisive contest for attorney general and sought to patch things up by paying tribute to Lautenschlager while touting the general-election candidacy of the person who defeated her.

Lautenschlager did not mention Falk by name in her remarks, but other Democrats were grateful for Lautenschlager's presence, since her absence would have sent an unwelcome signal.

"When you plan a unity rally, you want it to go well," Feingold said.

"We commit ourselves to move forward and move on to this important November election, to move on in unity," Lautenschlager told the crowd, which gave her several ovations. "We pledge to work our hardest to ensure a Democratic victory in November."

Lautenschlager alluded to the incident that might have been her political undoing - her 2004 drunken driving arrest - when she told the audience that she would be leaving the event before its conclusion to go to an obligation in Fond du Lac.

"I won't say what I really want to say here," she joked, adding, "We will drive safely home," prompting laughter.

The rally was also meant to bring together the Democratic contestants for the House seat in northeastern Wisconsin: winner Steve Kagen and losers Jamie Wall and Nancy Nusbaum.

All three had nice things to say about each other.

Falk said Lautenschlager was gracious when they spoke after Tuesday's primary.

Doyle told the audience that hard-fought primaries "divide the family," but he praised Lautenschlager and the losers in the 8th Congressional District for showing "class."

The governor told a reporter afterward that he wasn't concerned about divisions from the primary.

"I've been through tough primaries," said Doyle, who defeated Falk in a three-way primary for governor in 2002. "People get over them in a hurry."
EARLIER: GOP not quite as good at kissing and making up.


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