In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Wis. Dem Chair: Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin Could Run For Senate Seat

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Tate also took some shots at potential Republican candidates, as a potential preview of what is to come.

Regarding House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan: "I don't think Paul Ryan with all the money he could raise would be able to defend his plan to end Medicare and privatize Social Security."

Of former Rep. Mark Neumann, who unsuccessfully challenged Feingold in 1998, and ran an unsuccessful race in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, Tate said that Neumann now "runs losing campaigns for a living."

And of either state House Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald or his brother, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald: "I can't think of two more divisive leaders who have been running an anti-family agenda."

TPM asked Tate whether a primary race for Senate next year could potentially suck oxygen out of Dem efforts to recall Gov. Scott Walker, due to a primary race removing candidates, money, manpower and energy away from a recall drive.

"I don't think so. And the reason I don't think so is we're experiencing an ongoing correction, an extreme visceral recoil from Republican Party politics," Tate responded. "Both at the local level with what's happening with Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans, and at the national level. I think what this does is bring more oxygen to the fire."