The Campaign Spot

Herb Kohl Calls It a Senate Career

Multiple media sources are reporting that Sen. Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin, is announcing his retirement today.

An early indicator of his lack of interest in another term? He did absolutely no fundraising last quarter. I don’t mean he didn’t do much fundraising; I mean he did not receive a single contribution of any amount from anyone, anywhere.

At the end of last year, there was an interesting back-and-forth about Kohl’s odds for reelection:

The survey firm Public Policy Polling reports today that Wisconsin Democratic senator Herb Kohl “would begin in a pretty solid position if he did decide to seek reelection. 50% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 35% who disapprove.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee responds, “Let’s take a moment to flash back to late November of 2009, when PPP claimed that ‘Feingold looks solid’ heading into 2010. Of course, we all know what happened there . . .”

Well, to give credit to PPP, Kohl does not appear to be a liquid or gas so he is, indeed, solid.

There’s been talk that Feingold may want to make a comeback, so his home state now has an open seat. There are quite a few rising GOP stars in Wisconsin, which obviously has had a great deal of political excitement lately.

And you know RNC chair Reince Priebus will want to make a strong run at an open Senate seat in his home state . . .

UPDATE: The NRSC chuckles:

“Murray Also Said She’s Confident That There Will Be No More Democratic Retirements Ahead Of 2012.”

(The Hill, Sen. Patty Murray pledges ‘aggressive’ 2012 posture for Senate Dems, 04/14/2011)

Having rapped Dave Weigel on the knuckles below, I should call attention to this good Tweet from him: “We will always remember the legacy of Herb Kohl. Like the time he . . . uh . . . with the thing . . . and . . . er . . .”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Neil Stevens: “I suspect Feingold’s beatable if they run him again. Just a hunch, but I’ll ask SENATOR Johnson’s staff to confirm it.”

The full response from the NRSC:

National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Communications Director Brian Walsh issued the following statement in response to reports that U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) has decided not to seek re-election in 2012: 

“Senator Kohl’s retirement, just like his Democrat colleagues who stepped aside before him, immediately presents another key opportunity for Senate Republicans next year.  It also further dilutes the ability of national Democrats to go on offense, while they fight to maintain their dwindling Senate majority.

“As Russ Feingold discovered last year, whomever the Democrats eventually nominate, he or she will have a very tough time selling Wisconsinites on the Washington Democrats’ agenda of reckless deficit spending, massive debt, and job-killing tax hikes.  Wisconsin continues to be a prime pickup opportunity for Senate Republicans in 2012.”

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