Tags: Ryan | Kohl | Wisconsin | Senate

Wis. Rep. Ryan Won't Seek Kohl Senate Seat, but Source Says Thompson Will

Tuesday, 17 May 2011 11:42 AM

By Dan Weil

Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has decided not to run for retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl's seat, but former Gov. Tommy Thompson has told friends he will seek the nod.

Paul Ryan, Wisconsin, Senate
Rep. Paul Ryan says he can do more as chairman of House Budget Committee. (Getty Images Photo)
Ryan said this morning, “Our nation is quickly approaching a debt crisis that will do serious damage to Wisconsinites and all Americans if it is not properly addressed," according to The Washington Post.

"I believe continuing to serve as chairman of the House Budget Committee allows me to have a greater impact in averting this debt-fueled economic crisis than if I were to run for the United States Senate."

That’s certainly true, given that he’d go from chairman of one of the House’s most important economic committees to a freshman senator. And that’s assuming he won the Senate race, which wouldn’t necessarily be easy.

Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin, Senate
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson passed up overtures to run against Sen. Russ Feingold last year. (Getty Images Photo)
Now attention shifts to Thompson, who has told friends and party officials that he plans to jump into the Senate race, sources tell Politico and The Hill. Thompson was secretary of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration.

Republicans were eager for Thompson to run last year against Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, with Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn urging him on. But Thompson demurred, and Feingold lost to Republican Ron Johnson.

Thompson isn’t seen as prohibitive a front runner as Ryan would be. He may face a primary challenge from former Rep. Mark Neumann.

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