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GOP's Paul Ryan considering Wisconsin Senate bid

May 15, 2011|By Katherine Skiba
  • U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has long been a rising star in the GOP. Some say he wants to be chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has long been a rising star in the GOP. Some… (Carolyn Kaster / Associated…)

House Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is considering a run for the U.S. Senate after Friday’s retirement announcement by Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl

Ryan, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, said he would announce his decision “very quickly.”

Noting that Kohl just announced his intentions, Ryan said: “It was a bit of a surprise to all of us and so my family and supporters, we’ve just started digesting this.”

“This week, maybe we’ll hear?” host Candy Crowley asked. “Yes,” he said.

Ryan, 41, long a rising star in the GOP, in recent weeks has drawn wide attention, some of it negative, for his Medicare reform proposal, part of a bid to rein in federal spending.

He chairs the House Budget Committee and hails from Janesville, Wis.

Kohl, 76, a wealthy businessman and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, is in his fourth term. The election for the open seat is in 2012.

People have long speculated about who might try for Kohl’s seat once he steps down and Ryan’s name invariably emerged as a potential candidate. Some close to Ryan, though, have said his real ambition is to chair the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee down the road — and that would mean staying in the House.

There are several other prospective candidates for Kohl’s seat. On the GOP side, former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, state Atty. Gen. J.B. Van Hollen and two brothers: state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. On the Democratic side, House members Tammy Baldwin and Ron Kind and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett are among those drawing early attention.

kskiba@tribune.com

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