Dr. Kristen Lyerly, a Kaukauna native and Democrat, is considering a run for the 8th Congressional District seat after the surprise announcment by Mike Gallagher that he won't run for re-election.

WASHINGTON – Wisconsin Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher will not seek re-election this November, opening the 8th Congressional District seat to a newcomer for the first time since 2017.

Gallagher told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he will leave Congress at the end of his current term to enter the private sector and spend more time with his young family. He said his future work will be in-line with his national security goals and focus on defense policy.

The 8th District stretches north from Appleton to include Door County and parts of northeast Wisconsin up to Iron Mountain.

Gallagher was one of three Republicans to join Democrats in voting against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The impeachment vote failed 216-214.

Gallagher later slammed President Joe Biden’s handling of the southern border, but said impeaching Mayorkas “would only pry open the Pandora’s box of perpetual impeachment.”

With Gallagher’s announcement, the scramble to replace him already has begin.

Just hours after Gallagher announced his retirement, former Republican state Sen. Roger Roth, of Appleton, announced his candidacy.

No Democrats have announced a run for the seat, but a Kaukauna High School alum is frequently mentioned as a candidate.

Dr. Kristin Schmalz Lyerly, a 1987 graduate of Kaukauna High School, told Kaukauna Community News in May that she is considering a possible run for House of Representatives.

Lyerly is an OB/gyn and family practice physician in Green Bay.

She has been active in Democrats’ efforts to protect abortion access in Wisconsin, is considering a run this year.

Lyerly, along with other possible candiddates Kelly Peterson and Alicia Saunders have launched an initiative called New Blue to raise money for the Democrat’s eventual nominee.

Other Republicans being mentioned to run include Trump ally and Republican consultant Alex Bruesewitz and State Sen. Andre Jacque, of De Pere.

By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.