State Senator Glenn Grothman says he’s attended Lincoln Day Dinners all over the 6th Congressional District where he’s heard dissatisfaction with incumbent Republican Congressman Tom Petr.  As a result, he he says, he is very seriously looking at challenging Petri in a primary and will decide within 10 days.

Grothman said in a phone interview Monday night that the consensus he’s getting from around the district is that Tom Petri is a nice guy but people aren’t seeing enough leadership, especially on spending issues. Grothman said Congressional Republicans are going to have to fight hard for the future of America in the next two years and he would fight that fight. If the movement to challenge Petri from the right was born in the newer Ozaukee county area of the district, he rejects the notion that it’s confined to that region. He rattled off the counties within the 6th CD where he’s attended Lincoln Day dinners and heard from plenty of people unhappy with Petri.

Grothman insists he’s still undecided but certainly sounded like a candidate in referring to the grass roots campaign he would run. I asked about the prospect of facing a well-known, much better financed incumbent who would undoubtedly have the backing of the Republican establishment, all incumbent Republican congressman and very likely Governor Walker. His reply:

"Grass roots candidates have beaten the establishment choice before. Establishment Republicans have let us down. The public doesn’t want a candidate beholden to the establishment."

Grothman feels his stunning 2004 defeat over Senate Republican Majority Leader Mary Panzer shows he has the ability to take on the party favorite. Panzer received overwhelming establishment support but Grothman defeated her in a Republican primary 79% to 21%.

State Representative Duey Stroebel is also considering a run against Petri and said he’ll decide by Monday. I asked Grothman about the concern some conservatives have that two candidates running to Petri’s right would all but ensure the incumbent wins. Grothman’s response:

I’ve worked in the area and much of the 6th district for more than 20 years and if I run, I’m running.

" I’ll take Grothman at his word that he hasn’t decided. But in a 30 minute phone conversation, he certainly sounded a lot like a candidate. It appears we’ll find out in 10 days or less.