Neumann, Fitzgerald enter US Senate race - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Neumann, Fitzgerald enter US Senate race


Two republican candidates are now officially in the race for Herb Kohl's US Senate seat.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald told a Wausau newspaper that he's in and former Congressman Mark Neumann officially announced his candidacy on a Milwaukee radio show before talking to 27 News.

Neumann lost the republican primary for governor to Scott Walker less than a year ago, but he clearly hasn't lost his desire for statewide office.

He is already targeting a democrat who hasn't even entered the race yet.

"I'm happy to say we're beating Tammy Baldwin and the other democrats that might enter the field already," said Neumann. 

27 News asked Neumann several questions about Jeff Fitzgerald and about the other republican elephant in the room, former Governor Tommy Thompson, who is also expected to run.

But Neumann continued to shift the focus back to Congresswoman Baldwin, a likely democratic candidate.

We asked if that means he's taking the primary for granted.

"Its not that," replied Neumann.  "Its that I believe that republicans should lay out positive plans and positive visions for the future of America and then the voters in the republican primary should decide who they want to represent them."

Despite Neumann's reluctance to go after other republicans, Tommy Thompson's camp believes he already has.

Thompson staffers blame Neumann for having a role in getting the conservative group Club for Growth to produce a television ad slamming the former governor.

The ad claims Thompson supported massive spending increases as governor and that Thompson supported the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress.

"I had no part in those ads, they know better than that," said Neumann.  "We can't be involved with an independent group such as Club for Growth and I can only say about the Club for Growth that they are a conservative group.  They back conservative candidates for Senate and House seats across the country and I hope they'll support our campaign."

Neumann ran for US Senate once before, narrowly losing to Democrat Russ Feingold in 1998.

But, the two-term congressman from Nashotah believes his experience on the House Budget Committee in 1997 will be key with republicans this time around.

"I'm in this race because I believe we can balance the budget," said Neumann.  "I believe we can bring fiscal sanity back to Washington, DC.  I've done it before.  I was one of the principal architects of the balanced budget plan (in '97).  I was there for four years, we got the budget balanced."



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