This post has been updated at 11 a.m. ET.
Paul Ryan (R-WI), whose proposal to privatize Medicare has become the focus of current political debates, will not run for the Senate seat from which Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl is retiring. Instead, former Wisconsin Governor and Bush-era Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson will reportedly be getting in.
Ryan said in a statement posted on his campaign site, in part:
For my family and me, the most important factor in making this decision was determining where I could make the biggest difference. Our nation is quickly approaching a debt crisis that will do serious damage to Wisconsinites and all Americans if it is not properly addressed. 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.
National Journal and Politico reported Ryan’s plans earlier today, and that Thompson would get in.As TPM has previously reported, potential Democratic candidates include former Sen. Russ Feingold, who lost re-election in the 2010 Republican wave after three terms in office, seven-term Rep. Tammy Baldwin from Madison and the surrounding counties, and several other names in state politics and business.
Thompson has had a long and successful career in Wisconsin politics, but has not been on the ballot since 1998. He was first elected to the state Assembly in 1966, eventually becoming the Republican minority leader. He was elected governor in 1986, then re-elected in 1990, 1994 and 1998, before joining President George W. Bush’s cabinet in 2001. He left the cabinet after the 2004 election, and briefly sought the Republican nomination for president in 2007.
Thompson was long courted by the GOP to run for Senate in various cycles, but never made the jump — he came very close in 2010, but ultimately backed away.