Tom Nelson (politician)

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Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson 2009.jpg
Executive of Outagamie County
Assumed office
April 19, 2011
Preceded by Toby Paltzer
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 5th district
In office
January 2005 – January 2011
Preceded by Becky Weber
Succeeded by Jim Steineke
Personal details
Born (1976-03-03) March 3, 1976 (age 41)
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Carleton College
Princeton University
Religion Lutheranism

Tom Nelson (born March 3, 1976) is a Democratic politician from Kaukauna, Wisconsin and the County Executive of Outagamie County, since April 19, 2011.[1]

Nelson was the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives seat for Wisconsin's 8th congressional district in 2016.[2] He was defeated in the general election by Republican Mike Gallagher.[3]


Born in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 3, 1976, Nelson graduated from Little Chute High School in 1994, earned a B.A. from Carleton College in 1998, and an M.P.A. from Princeton in 2004.

Legislative career[edit]

Nelson is a former member of the Wisconsin State Assembly representing the 5th Assembly District (northeastern Outagamie County and the Town of Maple Grove) from 2005 - 2011. He was first elected to the Assembly in 2004, defeating Republican incumbent Becky Weber 15,014 to 14,249; and was assigned to the standing committees on health, insurance, rural development and transportation.[4]

He was re-elected twice, and was elected Assembly Majority Leader in 2008.[5]

Run for Lieutenant Governor[edit]

In 2010, Nelson announced that he was running for the position of Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, rather than seek re-election to the Assembly.[6] On September 14, he won the Democratic nomination in a four-way race, winning an absolute majority (52%) over state senator Spencer Coggs (21%) and two others.[7][8] Nelson and running mate Tom Barrett (who ran as a ticket) were defeated in the 2010 general election by Rebecca Kleefisch and Scott Walker. His assembly seat was taken by Republican Jim Steineke.

County executive[edit]

On April 5, 2011, Nelson defeated former Republican State Treasurer of Wisconsin Jack Voight for county executive of Outagamie County, by roughly 52% - 48%. Voight recognized the political unrest stemming from Scott Walker's policy drive to eliminate public workers' collective bargaining powers, saying "The labor movement has not only energized the Democratic Party base but a lot of the independents".[1]

2016 U.S. House of Representatives election[edit]

On April 7, 2016, Nelson announced that he would run for the U.S. Congress seat being vacated by retiring Representative Reid Ribble.[2] Nelson was defeated in the general election by Republican Mike Gallagher, who won 63% of the vote.[3]


External links[edit]