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Despite Loss, Assembly Candidate Pleased With Campaign

Democrat Bill Kurtz lost to Incumbent Mark Honadel in his first run for public office.

Bill Kurtz knew running a campaign against a nine-year veteran of Wisconsin Legislature was going to be an uphill battle.

Despite getting 40 percent of the vote against Mark Honadel in the race for the 21st State Assembly District, Kurtz says he wouldn't change the way he ran his campaign.

"I felt I did everything right," Kurtz said. "The only way to unseat Honadel would be when he decides to leave the political picture."

Kurtz believes Honadel's name recognition and reputation carry significant weight in the eyes of the voters. He believes an independent voter is less likely to vote for someone they don't know.

For his part, Honadel told Patch, "I'm a firm believer that if you don't get caught up in all the fluff and politics, and you just do the job well, people will continue to reward you."

As far as campaigning and promoting himself, Kurtz felt he did well for a first-time candidate.

"I went door to door as much as I could," Kurtz said. "Frankly, I'm 60 years old. I probably did not have as much energy as someone younger than me."

Finding money to support his campaign was also difficult for a number of reasons, according to Kurtz.

"Because of recall campaigns, there may have been a case of donor fatigue or the money just wasn't there," said Kurtz.

Kurtz also believes media attention plays a role in the outcome of smaller elections, such the Assembly race. 

"The decline in terms of coverage of races like this by mainstream news media especially hurts candidate like myself who do not have a lot of name recognition or the money to purchase it," Kurtz said.

Kurtz graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism and later worked for multiple local news outlets, including the Milwaukee Journal, CNI Newspapers and the Shepherd Express.

During his time covering local news, Kurtz became familiar with the issues facing the state. Running a campaign came natural to Kurtz as he decided to focus on issues he covered and analyzed first-hand, he said.

Craig Sullivan, a 10-year resident of South Milwaukee, said he was unfamiliar with Kurtz at first, but made an effort to listen to what Kurtz had to say while campaigning.

"There are always going to be those people who vote for the person they are more familiar with," Sullivan said. "It's up to you as a citizen to understand whether that is the right choice or not."

Keith R. Deschler November 19, 2012 at 02:11 AM
....Mr Kurtz should be commended just for getting out there and running. Is he retired? If not, then working a full time job and campaigning in your spare time is even tougher than having the party funding you enough so that you can run full time for 6 months. I have done it four times (as a Libertarian), and while I enjoy exploring the issues and promoting my beliefs, it's a real grind, especially when you work a factory job which drains your energy, and when you have to spend some time with family, shopping, and simply resting up from the fatigue of work, in addition to whatever campaign stuff you have to do. I am not much younger than Mr Kurtz(54), and just from looking at him, I think the physical stuff may be a bit much for him. He should continue his interest in public service, but a run for alderman or school board may be a lot less taxing physically.

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