Ribble: Not Concerned Over Debt Ceiling Vote, Possible Challenge - WBAY

Ribble: Not Concerned Over Debt Ceiling Vote, Possible Challenge

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Fallout from the government shutdown, and the vote to re-open it and raise the debt ceiling, targets a Northeast Wisconsin lawmaker.

Republican Congressman Reid Ribble, representing the 8th Congressional District, voted for the deal.

That's upset some national conservative organizations.

In an interview, while back in the district this weekend, Ribble said he heard from Northeast Wisconinites hours before his vote in a telephone town hall.

"My computer screen filled up instantly with hundreds and hundreds of people that wanted to weigh in," he said.

Ribble was the only Wisconsin Republican to vote for the deal.

"No, I don't have any regrets," he said. "I understand those folks who voted no. I really do get that."

The group Americans for Limited Government blasted Ribble, saying in a statement, "…when the federal budget is broken because of the unsustainable entitlement created by the health care law, constituents can thank Ribble, who now shares in the blame for this train wreck."

Over the phone Nathan Mehrens, the group's president said, "If there's a hardcore conservative in any district, in any part of the country that wants to challenge a member they think has voted wrong, we'd be in favor of that."

That apparently is happening.

"You come home from work and your wife says how was your day, and I said well, let me tell you," John Macco said.

Macco, a Republican who ran and lost a bid for state Senate, says a national conservative group contacted him after the vote, looking for a Republican to challenge Ribble in the primary.

"They called me and said, 'Would you consider running for the 8th Congressional District?" Macco said. "And I said absolutely not."

Dave Wegge, a pollster with the St. Norbert College Strategic Research Institute, says there's a split right now in the Republican party.

"I think a lot of groups might have threatened in the past, but the tea party has actually had some success," he said. "They've actually run some candidates to the right of some of the Republican members and won."

Ribble, who told Action 2 News, he is running for a third term, says he won't live in a world of fear.

I'm not concerned about my vote," he said. "I'm not concerned about a primary, nor am I concerned or fearful about a Democratic challenger. I'll trust the voters here with what they choose to do, and my life will be fine with whatever they choose."

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