• WisPolitics

Saturday, June 04, 2011

 12:31 PM 

Candidates in potential 2nd CD Dem primary tout progressive records

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin hasn't declared her intentions to run for the U.S. Senate yet. But if she does, the field of Dems seeking to replace her will likely try to prove to primary voters who's the most progressive.

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach of Middleton, and state Reps. Mark Pocan and Kelda Roys of Madison have all indicated their interest in running for the seat if Baldwin vacates it, and the congresswoman said she has encouraged all of them to begin building the foundation for a bid just in case.

Others are also expected to consider a bid, including former Dane County Exec Kathleen Falk. But Erpenbach, Pocan and Roys have been the most active so far in making calls.

Erpenbach said he represents about one-fourth of the 2nd CD's voters in his Senate district and pointed out he did better in his district than Baldwin, Tom Barrett or Russ Feingold in last year's elections.

Erpenbach, who authored the state's Do Not Call registry, touted his work crafting a universal health plan the state Senate approved and working on campaign finance reform.

Erpenbach said he's also received encouragement to run for governor.

"The health care issue, campaign finance reform issues, I've been a leader in the state Senate on those issues," Erpenbach said.

Pocan, a former chair of the Joint Finance Committee, said he loves his current job. But the only other one he'd find attractive is a run for Congress.

Pocan, who is gay, said he has received enthusiastic support from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides fundraising support for gay and lesbian candidates. He also said he's helped personally raise $1.5 million to $2 million for other candidates and would be a strong fundraiser in the race.

Sources have indicates Pocan has already had meetings with a potential campaign team to devise strategy and craft messages for a potential run.

"My voting record will stand out from the others on progressive issues," Pocan said.

Roys, who won her Assembly seat in 2008, said the election would be an opportunity to contrast Dem values that support the working class and a GOP approach that does not.

A former executive director NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, Roys said she's received encouragement to consider a bid and has been in touch with national groups such as Emily's List and NARAL.

"If she decides to run, it's key that we have a strong, energized progressive voice to fill her shoes in the House," Roys said.

-- By JR Ross


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