Friday, May 13, 2011

Breaking: Wisconsin Democrat Sen. Herb Kohl Will Not Run For Re-Election

Wisconsin Democrat senator Herb Kohl announced his retirement today at the end of his current term, setting up another open seat election in 2012 in a competitive battle ground state.

Kohl is the sixth Democrat to step down in advance of the 2012 election. There are only two Republican incumbents not running for reelection next year.

Possible Democrat contenders are Reps. Ron Kind, Tammy Baldwin and Steve Kagen as well as higher profile possibilities like former Sen. Russ Feingold who lost to Ron Johnson last November and former Rep. Tom Barrett, who ran and lost to Governor Scott Walker in the same election, which saw Wisconsin essentially changing from Blue to red and going Republican.

The obvious GOP contender would be Rep. Paul Ryan, but he's got a fairly powerful position in the House as Chairman of the House Budget Committee and might not want to swap that for a freshman Senator's seat. Another complication is that Ryan and deposed democrat Senator Russ Feingold are personal and family friends, and Ryan might not want to run if Feingold's in the race.

Other Republicans being mentioned are state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, local businessman Tim Michels and former Rep. Mark Neumann.

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh issued a statement saying that Kohl’s retirement “immediately presents another key opportunity for Senate Republicans next year.”

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