MADISON (WKOW) -- It's official: Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin will run for Herb Kohl's Senate seat.
The Madison native is the first Democrat to officially join the race. She joins former Republican Congressman Mark Neumann, who announced he was running last week. Others considering a run include Republicans Tommy Thompson and Jeff Fitzgerald and Democrat Ron Kind.
Baldwin has served as Representative to Wisconsin's Second Congressional District since January of 1999. Before that, she served on the State Assembly for six years.
Tuesday morning, Baldwin made her announcement via video address on her web site.
She sat down with 27 News to discuss her decision.
Baldwin says, "I want to be in the position of fighting for the middle class, in the U.S. Senate."
Baldwin is known as one of the most liberal Representatives in Congress.
Baldwin says, "I really think that what this race will come down to, is many people are struggling aren't feeling heard. If I didn't think I could win, I wouldn't seek nomination, or enter the race. I absolutely think so."
In Congress, Baldwin has voted to bring US troops home from Afghanistan, and voted against the debt ceiling fix, a move that went against all other Wisconsin Representatives.
If elected, Baldwin will be the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate. Baldwin says, "All my adult life, I've been open about sexual orientation, and I think voters appreciate integrity, honesty. But this race is not about me, it's about advocating for the middle class. That's what people are looking for in the U.S. Senate."
Baldwin says, "They look at Washington, they look at Madison, and they say folks aren't listening. They don't understand our struggles. I'm listening, I get it, and that's why I'm running for U.S.Senate."
Other Democratic candidates mulling their options are Representative Ron Kind and former Rep Steve Kagen.
This is a statement from Democrat Ron Kind's press room Tuesday:
"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 the race due consideration as I continue to talk with my family, friends and supporters in western Wisconsin and across the state."
On the Republican side, Mark Neumann has officially announced his candidacy.
He released a statement Tuesday morning, saying, "Since Tammy Baldwin was elected, Congress has racked up more debt than all previous Congresses combined. Baldwin was rated the most liberal member of Congress last year. She's voted for virtually the entire Obama agenda, except for when it wasn't liberal enough. She voted for ObamaCare, the stimulus, and cap and trade. There could be no greater contrast to my own plans to cut government spending, balance the budget, and repeal ObamaCare so we can get the private sector growing again. I'm a conservative, she's a liberal - it's that simple."
Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and former governor Tommy Thompson are also considering a run on the Republican side.
Darrin Schmitz, consultant to former Governor Tommy Thompson said Tuesday, "Tammy Baldwin is a classic tax and spend liberal, and her ranking as the most liberal member of the House puts her clearly out of the mainstream of Wisconsin voters. The nation is heading in the wrong direction under the Obama/Reid agenda, and Baldwin has been a virtual rubber stamp for their job-killing policies."
As far as Baldwin's seat in the house, State Representatives Mark Pocan and Kelda Helen Roys are said to be considering it, as well as Senator Jon Erpenbach.
Pocan and Roys will make their decisions this week.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is joining the race to fill retiring Democrat Herb Kohl's seat in the U.S. Senate.
Baldwin made the announcement Tuesday via email and video messages to her supporters, saying she will fight for middle-class voters. If elected, she would be the first openly gay member of the Senate. She has been a member of Congress since 1998.