Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), will reportedly announce today that he will not run again in 2012, after having served four terms. This in turn will open up a potential top-tier Senate race, in a swing state that has become the center of a polarizing political debate over labor unions in the wake of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation.
Kohl was first elected to the Senate in 1988, after a career in business and as owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. He will be 77 years old on election day 2012. Kohl had not been raising money in recent months, thus making this announcement somewhat expected, but his personal fortune and capacity to self-finance made the situation ambiguous.
A Democratic source in Wisconsin confirmed to TPMDC that Dems expect Kohl to announce his retirement. According to the source, potential Democratic candidates include Rep. Ron Kind, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Milwaukee Mayor and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Tom Barrett, and former Sen. Russ Feingold, who was defeated after three terms in the 2010 Republican wave.