Contest for Congress: Popular incumbent Gwen Moore defeats convicted felon Gary George in primary

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WITI/AP) -- A contest for Congress: A popular incumbent faces a convicted felon -- and incumbent Gwen Moore pulls out the primary election victory over Gary George in the 4th Congressional District.

George was recalled from office in 2003 and convicted in 2004 in a kickback scheme with another lawyer. He said he was running out of frustration with the ineffectiveness of Milwaukee's "political elite."

But Moore insisted she was anything but ineffective and said a decade after she was first elected to Congress, she still has a "fire in my belly" when it comes to helping constituents in the 4th District.

Moore pointed to her recent partnership with Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen on a human trafficking bill as evidence that she can work with Republicans to get things done even in a Congress where stalemate is the norm.

Congresswoman Gwen Moore is perhaps Milwaukee's liveliest lawmaker.

"I'm the mother of three and the grandmother of three granddaughters. I'm working hard to end violence against women," Rep. Moore said.

No matter what the issue, she addresses it with candor.

Rep. Moore has served for 10 years in Congress and retains a certain popularity in a heavily Democratic district because of her willingness to be blunt.

"This is not your granddaddy's GOP!" Rep. Moore said.

It's her straightforward, somewhat combative style that may be contributing to the deadlock in Congress -- and it's why Rep. Moore is facing a primary challenge.

"We have to work with both sides in order to get anything done.  I don't see any of that in Washington," Gary George said.

George, a former state senator, ran to replace Moore in Congress. He says his experience in the state Legislature, working across the aisle on School Choice, transportation and infrastructure projects could help him break through.

"Where is the leadership?  The people can't stand it anymore.  That's why I'm running for Congress," George said.

George was viewed by many observers as a long shot -- partly because he's taking on an incumbent and partly because he's a convicted felon.

In 2003, he was recalled from the Wisconsin Senate and later convicted for his role in bilking taxpayers in a kickback scheme.

"Clearly the legal issues of the past are in the past," George said.

Both candidates agree that there are two big issues for the district in this election -- jobs and violence in Milwaukee's inner city.

George says Rep. Moore hasn't done a good enough job directing federal resources to the district.

"There's an urgency that I feel that the current political leadership is not showing," George said.

Rep. Moore, who sits on the Budget Committee says the problem is the Tea Party's unwillingness to compromise on big issues.

"Some of the folk who were elected in 2010 have usurped the Republican Party. Those people who knew how to sit down, compromise, and bring their principles and values to the table, but were able to understand that you don't do things like put the full faith and credit of the United States on the table," Rep. Moore said.

Gary George issued the following statement on this race:

"I thank the over 21,000 citizens who voted for me yesterday. I also thank my volunteers and Family and others who gave support to the campaign. 

Having been heavily outspent, with a significant media blackout that combined ignoring the issues facing the Congress and Milwaukee, while attacking my qualifications for office, I know these voters want change. I am honored to be their voice. 

I congratulate Gwen Moore on her Democratic re-nomination as the 4th District Wisconsin Representative to Congress. I attempted to reach her by telephone last night. 

Milwaukee has urgent needs. That is why I ran for Congress. Those who could not hear my message should know that I did my best to communicate my solutions and why I wanted their trust. 

Wisconsin Eye, Mike Gousha, Charles Sykes, Mark Belling and Wisconsin Public Radio allowed a platform to directly reach the voters. I appreciate that very much. 

I especially appreciate the time I spent with our community's clergy and their congregations. 

Every day during the campaign was a great chance to meet wonderful people who inspired me. That is the best part of our political process. 

With respect, 

Gary R. George" 

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