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WI: Senator’s son: ‘I could have been killed’ in attack

By   /   October 23, 2012  /   7 Comments

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Sean Kedzie says he couldn’t breathe. His vision was quickly dimming.

Just before he passed out, Kedzie said one of his two male attackers released him from a chokehold in his own front yard.

“It was right at the last second. Who knows … I have no clue what they were capable of,” the 22-year-old Whitewater resident told Wisconsin Reporter Tuesday.

“Those guys don’t realize I could have been put in a coma, I could have been killed.  Things have been taken to whole new level,” he added.

BATTLE SCARS: Sean Kedzie, son of state Sen. Neal Kedzie, R-Elkhorn, days after Sean says he was the victim of politically motivated attack.

Whitewater police continued their investigation into Kedzie’s report that two men attacked him early Friday morning at his home after he confronted them about stealing his Romney/Ryan campaign yard sign.

Kedzie said he confronted the two men — both described as white, one suspect about 6-foot, 195 pounds — and in their early 20s. The man who Kedzie said took the sign set it down in his yard and, before he knew it, the other man was attacking him. Kedzie said the men wrestled him to the ground, put him in a chokehold and screamed, “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan suck!” and other politically charged invectives.

“It went from zero to 60 with the flip of the switch,” he said. “I never really stood a chance. These guys must have had in their minds what they were going to do when I walked up to them.”

He’s not your average alleged assault victim. He’s the son of state Sen. Neal Kedzie, of Elkhorn, a prominent, outspoken Republican who has served in the Senate for the past decade.

And Neal Kedzie is no stranger to attacks he said were  perpetrated under political animosity.

His Elkhorn home has been the subject of several acts of vandalism, police confirm. The senator said he has had to clean dead fish and nails off his yard and driveway on several occasions.

“I have a flat tire on my car in my driveway right now because someone threw nails,” Neal Kedzie told Wisconsin Reporter.

The Kedzies told their story Tuesday, they said, in hopes of ending what they see as escalating political-related violence in a deeply divided battleground state.

“I don’t get it. I’ve been in politics for 25 years, both in local and state politics, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” the senator said. “It’s been boiling up across Wisconsin for some time, and I suppose it was inevitable that someone was going to get hurt. Unfortunately, it was my son.”

The senator, too, condemned commenters on conservative radio, Twitter and Facebook feeds in recent days urging violent responses to his son’s attack.

“Violence only begets violence,” he said. “We will beat you with intellect, not with our fists.”

 Boiling point?

There have been sporadic reports of assaults and vandalism this heated election year. In January, a West Bend man was arrested on charges of defacing recall petitions for Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, for instance.

There were several reports of vandalism, threats and assaults at the state Capitol during last year’s mass protests over  Walker’s proposed changes to public-sector collective bargaining.

A Marquette Law School poll earlier this year found nearly a third of respondents said they had stopped talking to each over Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election.

But Sean Kedzie said politically driven hatred is getting out of control.

“I never expected something like this to happen. It’s frightening. People are frightened about this,” he said.

He said the day after he was attacked, someone pilfered his Tommy Thompson for U.S. Senate sign. The next night, someone ran off with his “Stand With Walker” sign.

Whitewater police said the reported incident involving Sean Kedzie remains under investigation and that it could be sometime before information is released. They would not specify when.

The younger Kedzie said police have told him the same.

Asked if there was any previous event that could have precipitated the attack, Sean Kedzie said he had never seen the men before Friday morning, that the assault caught him “off guard.”

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s running mate, called Sean Kedzie Tuesday afternoon to express his concern.

“He said he was thinking about me and that I would be in his prayers. He said he wanted to call and see how I was doing and he wanted to thank me for not backing down and for not being intimidated by these guys,” Sean Kedzie said.

Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney in a statement said the “senseless and brutal act of violence perpetrated against Sean Kedzie for his political belief is a frightening turn of events that must end now. No one deserves to have their safety threatened due to their political leanings.

“This cowardly act only highlights the rancor and vilification that flows from the fringes of the political spectrum. These actions should not and will not be tolerated.”

Contact M.D. Kittle at mkittle@wisconsinreporter.com

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M.D. Kittle is national First Amendment reporter at Watchdog.org. Contact him at mkittle@watchdog.org.

  • Fed Up In Wisconsin

    What do you expect with a President that does nothing but give speeches about “us and them” for 4 years straight? Americans are now surrounded by hatred, in their own towns and subdivisions. Friend against friend, coworker against coworker, neighbor against neighbor. Can’t we all get along again? We need a leader that unites us, not divides us. Support a change for the better, vote Romney.

  • Crosshairs started it all…..

    At least he didn’t get shot in the head or killed…..that’s what happened when Republicans (Sarah Palin) put the crosshairs over different districts and then Gabby Gifford got gunned down and a little girl died. An eye for an eye? Republican’s sure did raise the violence bar with that one….and now both sides are doubling down? I really don’t feel sorry for this guy, he is still drawing breath, but a little girl is dead.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1337979004 Randal Phillips

    Do they give you degrees at Stupid U? You MUST have at least a Masters by now. The bozo who shot Gifford and killed the little girl was a LIBERAL. He walked around with a copy of Mao’s little red book in his pocket and had posters of Lenin and Stalin on the walls. Those are Obama’s “founding fathers.” He and Barry have much much much more in common that he and Sarah Palin. How massively idiotic do you have to be to think that the style of marker on a political flyer incited him to kill? Obviously, you are willing to demonstrate. Are ALL LIBERALS so mindlessly idiotic?

  • Crosshairs started it all….

    My political philosophy comes from Hubert Humphrey, who said, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those in the shadow of life, the needy and the handicapped.”
    If my belief in these words makes me a bleeding heart liberal, let me bleed.The GOP slogan for campaign 2012 should be “Every man for himself” or “Women and children last.” Republicans of course, make exceptions for their sugar daddies. If you’re a banker or a billionaire you can count on a lot of help from Republicans in power. If you’re unwed mother in need of prenatal medical care or a poor hungry kid in need of a school lunch, you can forget about any help from the GOP Mean Machine.

  • Still Fed Up In Wisconsin

    To act like anybody would “deserve” a beating or any act of violence for putting up a sign, or for having one belief that doesn’t agree with anothers is truly pathetic. To each their own. Does that mean that if somebody did that to you, or ran you off the road for having a particular bumper sticker on your car, that it would be deserved? I hope we live in a better society than that – for we can all act civil and respectful to each other.
    I wonder why this story has not made our local news at all. For if it was an Obama or Tammy Baldwin sign that had been in that yard and that person was beat up, we’d have every news camera within a 50 mile radius at the hospital and in Whitewater pointing to the very spot in the yard it all happened.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nemapunkin Stephanie Snyder Staker

    No surprise that LSM has not reported this. If this had been a Democrat supporter, oh, the hew and cry we’d hear for days, all day!

  • fed up with humans

    we’re NOW surrounded by hatred? are you kidding?? We’ll get along when the white guy’s President, RIGHT? laughing through my tears

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