With four-term Wisconsin Democratic Senator Herb Kohl retiring in 2012 and the state locked in partisan rancor, Rep. Tammy Baldwin announced she is giving a run for the seat serious consideration.
Baldwin got her start in state politics in Madison and made the move to Washington after getting elected to Congress in 1998. She’s extremely popular with her constituents and has been rumored to be considering the seat for some time. In the wide open Democratic primary Baldwin’s only real competition comes from former Senator Russ Feingold.
Feingold has also been rumored to be considering another run, but may have his sights set for the Governor’s mansion rather than Washington.
In many ways Baldwin and Feingold have a lot in common in terms of their politics and policy, so the state of Wisconsin would be well served with both candidates in the mix. Baldwin and Feingold both embrace the progressive tradition of Wisconsin politics and are not afraid to pick difficult fights, even within their party.
But Baldwin would bring more to the Senate than Feingold at this time. Baldwin is openly gay and a fierce advocate for LGBT issues. She is also seen as a uniter of coalition groups, something that is desperately needed in the left these days. And last but not least, she’s a woman who stands strong for choice and reproductive freedoms.
Given the dithering that has come from the Senate, Baldwin in the Senate can’t come soon enough.