Monday, September 26th, 2016

Kohl mining

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Rachel Weiner, writing for The Fix at the Washington Post, lays out the possible field of candidates if Senator Herb Kohl decides to retire.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R) has been discussed as a potential Senate candidate almost since he came to Congress from the swing 1st district in 1998. But, Ryan now sits on a plum post as chairman of the House Budget Committee, making it something short of a slam dunk for him to run statewide in an open seat scenario.

Former Rep. Mark Neumann (R), who came within a hair’s breadth of beating Feingold in 1998 but ran a more quixotic campaign against Walker last year, would almost certainly take a serious look as well.

And there would almost certainly be some chatter about freshman Rep.Sean Duffy, a rising star within the national GOP, stepping up to the Senate race as well.

On the Democratic side, Feingold would be the obvious choice. When he was defeated last fall, Feingold declared: “It’s on to the next fight. … It’s on to 2012.”

That statement left many political observers puzzled and speculation immediately began about the idea of Feingold challenging President Obama from the ideological left. But, Feingold — via a spokesman —rejected the idea out of hand.

Ostermeier suggests that Kohl could be delaying a retirement announcement so that Republicans are slower to get in the race, giving Feingold an easier path back into office.

It’s not clear though that Feingold would have the primary field to himself. Rep. Ron Kind, for example, has long been talked about as a statewide candidate and might find it hard to resist an open seat race.

I just can’t imagine Mark Neumann making a run after two failed state-wide runs, especially the way he burned so many bridges in the last run.

It’s a double-edged sword with Ryan. On the one hand, he would seem to be in a prime position to fundraise. On the other hand, why would he give up the position he has?

Attorney General JB Van Hollen was not mentioned on the Republican side. You would presume that he would consider it, especially as he would not have to give up his current job to run. Van Hollen was just re-elected in 2010 against a very forgettable Democratic opponent.

Under normal circumstances one of the Fitzgeralds would have to be considered a possible candidate, as would Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas (let’s beat the rush by starting the rumor now). However, Wisconsin just has a very solid Republican bench. Could one of them break through?

Also, would former Congressman Mark Green make a return to run?

On the Democratic side, who would you pick other than Feingold and Kind? It’s a pretty thin bench over there. Would Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett consider moving back to Washington D.C.? Look how hard it was to get him to consider moving to Madison.

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