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Rep. Reid Ribble on hot seat over shutdown vote? Not with local Republicans

Oct. 22, 2013
 
GPG_ES_Reid Ribble GOP party_11.6.12
U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble smiles as he thanks his staff while giving his victory speech during the GOP victory party at the Rock Garden in Green Bay on Nov. 6, 2012. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

Local Republicans are rallying around U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble amid reports that the GOP congressman could face a challenge from his own party.

Ribble, of Sherwood, is among several Republicans in Congress coming under scrutiny for voting last week to end the federal government shutdown in a compromise with President Obama and other Democrats.

Fellow Republican John Macco of Ledgeview said a national group that he would not identify has approached him and urged him to consider running against Ribble in a Republican primary.

Macco, a former state Senate hopeful, said he has no plans to challenge the congressman, and he doubts any other Republicans will, either.

In fact, Macco said, he agrees with Ribble’s vote to end the two-week government shutdown that had pushed the nation to the brink of economic disaster in a Republican-driven effort to defund Obama’s health-care reform program.

“We needed to get back to work,” Macco said. “We needed to get back in the game.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and others from the GOP’s conservative Tea Party faction have publicly criticized fellow Republicans who voted to end the shutdown.

Ribble, who could not be reached for comment, is serving his second term representing Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District. The former business owner emerged from a four-person GOP field in 2010 and then unseated Democratic incumbent Steve Kagen.

He has not announced whether he will seek a third term next year.

Other local Republicans said they, too, are standing behind Ribble.

Republican state Rep. Andre Jacque of De Pere said he has heard GOP “grumblings” about the congressman’s vote on the shutdown. Jacque said he is undecided about whether Ribble did the right thing on that issue.

Jacque, however, called Ribble a friend and said he would support the congressman for re-election.

“I do believe that Reid is a conservative — and, by and large, has voted that way,” Jacque said.

Mark Becker, chairman of the Brown County Republican Party, said he agreed with Ribble’s vote to end the government shutdown. Although some other Republicans disagreed, Becker said, he doubts anyone will challenge the congressman in a primary fight.

“I hope Republicans support him,” Becker said. “I support him fully.”

— Scott Cooper Williams writes for Press-Gazette Media, Green Bay.

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