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Senator's son: 'I could have been killed' in attack

By   /   October 23, 2012  /   11 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


  • Tanya Maney

    I am curious where tmj,fox,cbs 58 and wisn, along with the journal sentinel are on this story? I remember reading a huge story a while back because someone in Tosa had an egg thrown at their Recall Scott Walker sign. While I am not condoning any of this behavior, doesn’t this story deserve far more attention? This man could have beenn KILLED! Shame on msm, once again, shame on the dems for not denouncing this behavior, shame on the thugs who beat this guy up, shame on the whitewater chief of police who had “no knowledge” of this incident three days later……This is NOT what democracy looks like. Prayers and well wishes to the Kedzie family. May justice be served.

  • Bonnie Jotblad

    How is this any different than terrism? Are the liberals so intimidated by a yard sign that they’ll beat up someone and nearly kill him?? If the police don’t very actively look for people who are doing this sort of thing, the city counsil should roll heads. This cannot be tolerated. Get the state police involved.

  • Tpartywarrior

    Liberalism is a mental disorder.

  • Onzmadi

    I don’t know I think there has to be more to this story than he is letting on. Not that I find at all acceptable response of the chuckleheads who were stealing signs and beat the guy. I just find it hard to believe that this kid sat there like an angel and theses guys just out of nowhere started wailing on him. That just doesn’t fit.

  • strayaway

    “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

    -Senator Obama running for president

  • Milt

    Just remember on Election Day who and what this administration is about: socialism, racial division, anti-Christian, anti-military, and anti-business, anti-family, an untrustworthy administration, filled with empty rhetoric and platitudes; who will stop at nothing to stay in power and destroy America. Take your discontent with the most divisive administration in history and do the right thing. Vote the Hater/Blamer/Campaigner-in-Chief, and all his minions out of office on November 6th 2012! Move America in the right direction!

  • Jack

    This is truly sad!

    As a father of sons, I am outraged to hear this story. I consider myself to have self control, but I pity the fool who would ever make the mistake of hurting one of my boys – especially on our property.

    This story should be shouted from the mountain tops! If the shoe were on the other foot and this being a Democrat – surely the story would make NATIONAL news.

    Why is it that Democrats can continue to exhibit their moral decay and lack of tolerance? Where does their accountability begin and end?

    Justice MUST prevail!

    My prayers and caring thoughts go out to Sean and the Kedzie family.

    God Bless!

  • Greg 46

    I was on the Madison campus from 1967-1970 and left in August 1970 at the end of the summer term.

    This was the time that the campus unrest and demonstrations started with the Dow protest and culminated with the bombing of Sterling Hall.

    We saw protests, tear gas and National Guard troops in open trucks descending on campus. At the time it all seemed surreal. One of my dorm mates returned from the Dow protest with a bandaged head, and injury caused by a night stick being broken over his noggin.

    All ancient history for some but I fear that history is about to repeat itself in some unfortunate way.

    I believe the situation we find ourselves in can be mitigated by someone showing some leadership. That someone does not have to be, and probably can’t be, one person I would hope leaders from both liberal and conservative groups can start to behave like statesmen rather than toddlers.

    I don’t believe the mantra of “can’t we all just get along” cuts it but “can’t we just grow up” might.

  • Sara

    Americans will defeat socialists because Americans have seen the injustice, racism, poverty and failure of the ideology for the past few years. They will chooose to vote for prosperty, opportunity, and unity in human meaning beyond race and class and for constitutional freedom.

    It’s no accident that leftists, whether national socialists or global communists, have a long history of mass murder all over the world, when they get near to power as has happened with the election of a radical President. When the socialist thugs get their racism and violence going, they will only be stopped by the rule of law and self defense. Currently they beleive themselves above the rule of law because they have power.

  • Kurt

    He was on his own property…he can tell people to get the hell off and should not have to defend himself nor should he expect to be assaulted

  • Brad

    Dear Goofnuts: Those “knuckleheads” committed crimes. I guess we’ll just have to assume that people who steal or deface political signs, are dangerous, and a threat to our lives. That’s OK because we now have the Castle Doctrine Law in Wisconsin, which assumes that people committing crimes on our own property, are armed and dangerous. That puts the lives of the criminals in danger for a change, because we can use deadly force on them, without criminal or civil consequences. Maybe a few of these “knuckleheads” will get killed and the rest of them will think twice before expressing their tolerance on someone else’s property. I know, “vandals don’t deserve a death sentence” will be the scream from the liberals. After what happened to Sean Kedzie, yes they do, and they’d better factor that in. If “knuckleheads” die, they will have brought it on themselves.