Who's running for Sen. Kohl's senate seat? - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Who's running for Sen. Kohl's senate seat?

Sen. Herb Kohl Sen. Herb Kohl
Former Wis. Governor Tommy Thompson / Getty Images Former Wis. Governor Tommy Thompson / Getty Images
U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan

MADISON (WKOW) -- Almost a dozen names have been mentioned as possible candidates to replace retiring democrat Herb Kohl in the U.S. Senate.

Tuesday, 27 News confirmed that Republican Congressman Paul Ryan will not run for Senate.

In a phone interview, Representative Ryan said, "I just believe I can be a far better advocate for Wisconsinites, and have a far bigger impact on the big issues of the day, like this fiscal issues we are in, by staying in the house and chair of the house budget committee."

With Ryan out, former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson could be in.

John Bahling, a former Thompson aide, said, "His intentions are to run, he's strongly being urged by friends and family, and he's starting to reach out to former campaign staff."

Thompson's name has come up as a possible candidate in several races, including the presidential race in 2007.

Charles Franklin, UW-Madison Political Science Professor, said, "The trouble is having come so close and backed out at each previous time.. it's very hard to know whether this time.. he's finally serious... if he is serious, he's a formidable candidate."

But we still don't have anyone officially in the running.

Numerous Republican names have been brought up, including Former Congressman Mark Neumann, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Assembly Majority Leader Jeff Fitzgerald, and Attorney General JB Van Hollen.

Senator Fitzgerald said, "I think anybody that was thinking about the race, certainly will take Thompson very seriously."

Democratic names former Senator Russ Feingold, Rep. Ron Kind, former Congressman Steve Kagen, Rep. Tammy Baldwin

Representative Baldwin said, "Whenever I look at a serious decision, like this.. I think carefully, I analyze it, and that's exactly what I'm going to do before making a run for U.S. Senate."

Baldwin says she will make a decision by summer.

Charles Franklin said, "Until former Senator Feingold makes up his mind, he freezes the democratic field, in a similar way to Tommy Thompson, that seemingly freezes the Republican field. We'd all like to know sooner.. rather than later, from both of these guys."

Sources close to Mark Neumann's campaign say Thompson's consideration of the race won't have an effect on whether Neumann chooses to run.

A Neumann spokesman released this statement Tuesday, "I have known Paul Ryan since I was in Congress in the 1990s, and in 1998, I supported him when he ran for the seat I previously held. In Wisconsin, we're very lucky to be able to call Paul Ryan one of our own. There is no doubt he would have made an excellent U.S. Senator. I am still seriously considering a U.S. Senate candidacy and listening to what the people of Wisconsin hope to see from their next Senator. It is clear that people are deeply concerned about the reckless spending and out-of-control deficits that are only getting worse in Washington. The question becomes who is best prepared to deal with this growing problem."

Congressman Ron Kind released this statement Tuesday, "The State of Wisconsin and the entire nation are losing a great public servant with the retirement of Senator Herb Kohl," said Rep. Kind. "At this time, I'm carefully weighing all of my options but my main focus continues to be my work in Congress. I will be giving it due consideration as I continue to talk with my family, friends and supporters in western Wisconsin and across the state."

Late Tuesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he will focus on his re-election campaign.

This weekend at the State Republican Convention in the Dells, there is sure to be discussion on who will join the race.


Politico is reporting former Wisconsin governor, Tommy Thompson, has told those close to him he will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Herb Kohl, after Kohl announced last Friday he will not run for re-election in 2012.

Thompson was a popular long-time Republican governor, and also served as President George W. Bush's first Health and Human Services Secretary. 

Politico reports Thompson said he would only run for the seat if U.S. Representative Paul Ryan did not.

This morning, Congressman Paul Ryan released the following statement on his web site concerning the Senate seat:

"I am grateful for the tremendous outpouring of encouragement that I have received from my friends and supporters since Senator Kohl announced he would not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate. For my family and me, the most important factor in making this decision was determining where I could make the biggest difference. Our nation is quickly approaching a debt crisis that will do serious damage to Wisconsinites and all Americans if it is not properly addressed. I believe continuing to serve as Chairman of the House Budget Committee allows me to have a greater impact in averting this debt-fueled economic crisis than if I were to run for the United States Senate.

House Republicans have taken bold steps forward in tackling our fiscal and economic challenges – we have led, where others have not. I want to keep building on this progress and therefore, I will seek to continue serving my employers of Wisconsin's First District as their Representative in the House."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will not run for U.S. Senate:" Mayor Barrett has said many times that he will be running for a third term as Mayor of Milwaukee.

While it's flattering to have your name mentioned as a potential US Senate candidate, Mayor Barrett loves his job and will seek re-election.

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