Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) has officially announced his retirement. Kohl’s decision to not seek reelection in 2012 opens up a potential top-tier Senate race, in a swing state that has become the center of a polarizing political debate over labor unions in the wake of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation.
“I’ve always believed that it’s better to leave a job a little too early than a little too late,” the four-term senator said in his opening remarks. “And that’s how I feel today. The interest and energy I have for this job will find a new home at the conclusion of this term.”
Kohl told reporters that he believed the divisions in the state, triggered by Walker’s legislation, would make it easier for the Democrats to hold the seat. “I think whoever we nominate is going to have a very good chance of winning,” said Kohl. “To some extent the Republicans have overreached, and people have recoiled, and the landscape will be more favorable.
“Not that I’m happy it’s happened — I’m not happy that it’s happened. But I think the landscape will be more favorable to Democratic candidates than last year.”
(Thanks to the CBS affiliate in Milwaukee, for live-streaming Kohl’s press conference.)