All signs seem to point to Gov. Jim Doyle not seeking reelection in 2010, so I thought I’d take a look at a few of the possible Democratic contenders to succeed Gov. Doyle:
- Lieutenant Governor Barb Lawton – There’s absolutely no doubt Lt. Gov. Lawton will run to succeed Gov. Doyle. According to campaign finance documents, Lt. Gov. Lawton ended the last reporting period with $50,904.18 case on hand, and once Gov. Doyle formally announces he’s not running, you can expect to see Lt. Gov. Lawton’s fundraising kick into overdrive. Lawton’s weaknesses – as I see them – are the fact that she can be tied to the Doyle administration, and as such she’ll likely face criticism for some of Gov. Doyle’s more unpopular moves as Governor. What’s more, Lawton hasn’t proven she can shine running a campaign of her own, so it will be interesting to see how she does when her campaign isn’t tied to Gov. Doyle’s.
- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett – Mayor Barrett ran for governor in 2002, finishing second to then-Attorney General Jim Doyle in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, and I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see Barrett throw his name into the ring for 2010. Barrett was reelected Mayor of Milwaukee in 2008 by the largest margin in 40+ years, and during his time as Milwaukee’s Mayor he’s shown he’s a capable administrator/”chief executive.”
- Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk – Falk ran for governor in 2002, finishing third to Doyle and Barrett, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her jump into the race again. However, Falk did lose a race (2006 Attorney General) that was very winnable, especially given the Democratic wave during the 2006 election cycle.
- Representative Ron Kind – Though not a full-fledged “Blue Dog” Democrat, Rep. Kind is definitely a centrist Democrat, a fact that could aid him in the parts of Wisconsin that aren’t Milwaukee or Madison. However, I’m not sure how well known Rep. Kind is in the parts of the state that don’t include his Congressional district, and so he’d have to overcome that lack of name recognition in comparison to the other Democratic challengers.
One name not on my list, but who I’d love to see run for governor, is Sen. Herb Kohl. Kohl enjoys wide name recognition, fundraising wouldn’t be a problem (he could likely self-fund a gubernatorial run), and Sen. Kohl doesn’t face reelection until 2012. Besides, how fun would it be to see Sen. Kohl run against Scott Walker or Mark Neumann?