• WisPolitics


Monday, August 29, 2011

 9:53 AM 

Neumann declares Senate candidacy; Fitzgerald talks potential run

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann announced his candidacy for the state's open U.S. Senate this morning.

The southeastern Wisconsin homebuilder hinted last week he'd enter the race for the Republican nomination for Herb Kohl's seat. Neumann, who represented the 1st Congressional District for two terms in the 1990s, also has run unsuccessfully for governor and Senate before.

Neumann told WTMJ Radio's Charlie Sykes during his announcement that one thing he learned from last year's gubernatorial run was that a potential candidate shouldn't wait to jump into a race. He filed papers in July 2009 to run for guv, but didn't formally announce his campaign until September.

"If you're going to do it, get in and do it and work your tail off," Neumann said.

Former Gov. and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald also are expected to enter the race.

Neumann, who has sparred with Thompson already over a series of ads run by the Club for Growth, said he would hope that the conservative group would back his candidacy, but rejected charges from the Thompson camp that Neumann allies were behind the effort.

Neumann largely steered clear of criticizing Thompson, saying he would allow the former governor to make his arguments while focusing on U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison, who's likely to enter the race on the Dem side.

Others who have said they're interested in running are state Sen. Frank Lasee and former state Sen. Ted Kanavas.

Meanwhile, Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, said over the weekend that what he has done in Madison over the past year would transfer well should he decide to run for U.S. Senate.

While shying away from officially announcing a bid, Fitzgerald touted the accomplishments of his caucus as well as the role he played in its work on Sunday's "UpFront with Mike Gousha," a statewide TV newsmagazine produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.

“To balance a budget, a 3.6 billion dollar deficit without raising taxes, when people said it couldn’t be done, we did that, and I think I can take those kinds of things to Washington, D.C.,” Fitzgerald said.

“I think on the national levels, they have the same problems we faced in Wisconsin. We need to get people back to work.”

Gousha asked Fitzgerald whether he thinks he could win given the role he played in passing some of the more controversial pieces of Gov. Scott Walker's agenda with such a deeply divided state.

“As we get further away from that vote, people are starting to realize why we did that,” said Fitzgerald, adding, “I get people coming up to me on a daily basis saying, 'You know what, you really did change things in Madison like you promised you were going to.”

Fitzgerald also touched on likely GOP primary opponents Neumann and Thompson.

“I just think right now, we are in very different times,” Fitzgerald said. “I think Governor Thompson and Mark Neumann haven’t been elected officials for a long time.”


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