U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls easily withstood a challenge Tuesday from a fellow Republican, while Democrats picked their candidates to take on Republican Reps. Paul Ryan of Janesville and Tom Petri of Fond du Lac in November.
Also Tuesday, voters in western Wisconsin chose Kevin Barrett — a former lecturer who made his name by arguing the government orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — in a rare Libertarian primary. He will face Rep. Ron Kind, a La Crosse Democrat, and a Republican challenger Nov. 4.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Barrett defeated Ben Olson III of Wisconsin Dells in the Libertarian primary.
Barrett, 49, became well known in 2006 as some Republican state legislators tried to push him out of his University of Wisconsin-Madison lecturing job because of his controversial views on Sept. 11. Barrett withstood the challenge but did not get a new teaching job in 2007.
In campaign stops and in automated calls, he has reminded voters of his controversial 9-11 views, telling them the attacks were an inside job.
But he has focused his campaign on immediately withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Olson, 55, agreed with him on that issue but said Barrett's views on other issues — such as expanding Social Security — did not represent Libertarian ideals on reducing the size of government.
Olson will face Kind and Republican Paul Stark, an Eau Claire homebuilder, in the general election.
The 3rd District covers western Wisconsin, including Hudson, Eau Claire and La Crosse.