On CNN this weekend, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) confirmed that he’s considering jumping into the 2012 Wisconsin Senate race following the announced retirement of Sen. Herb Kohl (D).
“My family and supporters, we just started digesting this,” Ryan told State Of The Union Sunday. “I plan on making an announcement very quickly.”
Host Candy Crowley asked Ryan if he’ll make his announcement “this week.”
“Yes,” Ryan replied.
It’s looking like a busy seven days for Ryan, despite the fact that the House is officially recess. Later on Monday, Ryan’s scheduled to give a big speech in Chicago aimed at breathing new life into the Medicare phase out he authored as part of the Republican budget plan. That could be followed by the Senate announcement, which if Ryan decides to run would make him a central player in what is expected to be one of the most dramatic races of the cycle.
The Senate race will be the first in Wisconsin since the massive labor upheavals that turned the state into the epicenter of progressive politics earlier this year. Whomever wins the Republican ballot line in the contest will likely face the pull power of national progressive politics and labor money. Conservatives were also buoyed by the fight over Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-collective bargaining budget plan, which means the race will be a national one from the rightward perspective as well.
But Ryan’s not the only name floating around Republican circles, as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Friday:
Potential candidates on the GOP side include…Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen; top GOP state lawmakers such as brothers Jeff and Scott Fitzgerald; and businessman and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann. Sources said former U.S. Rep. Mark Green of Green Bay was also looking at a run.
Democrats say they’ve got a full field of potential nominees as well, including former Sen. Russ Feingold (D), who was unseated in the same election that put Walker and the Republican state legislature in power.
Watch Ryan (briefly) talk about the Senate race at the end of his interview with Crowley: