Tammy Baldwin announces campaign for third term in U.S. Senate

Baldwin has been a formidable candidate for Republican challengers. In a state known for close elections, she has defied the odds.
Tammy Baldwin
Posted at 6:55 AM, Apr 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-12 13:25:35-04

MILWAUKEE — 2024 is here - politically speaking, that is.

As expected, Democrat Tammy Baldwin is seeking re-election for a third term in the U.S. Senate.

“I'm committed to making sure that working people, not just the big corporations and ultra-wealthy, have a fighter on their side," said Senator Baldwin. “With so much at stake, from families struggling with rising costs to a ban on reproductive freedom, Wisconsinites need someone who can fight and win.”

Abortion is likely to be a dominant issue in the 2024 campaign, with the state's 1849 abortion ban law making its way through the courts.

It was a prominent issue in April's state Supreme Court won by Janet Protasiewicz. Baldwin has co-sponsored legislation to codify Roe v. Wade with her Women’s Health Protection Act of 2023.

Baldwin has been a formidable candidate for Republican challengers. In a state known for close elections, she has defied the odds.

The Madison Democrat beat Wisconsin's longest-serving governor, Tommy Thompson, in 2012 to become the state's first female and the nation’s first openly gay member elected to the U.S. Senate. She won by 5 points.

Baldwin easily defeated State Senator Leah Vukmir in 2018 by nearly 11 points.

Following the announcement of her campaign, the National Republican Senate Committee released a statement.

"She’s a reliable vote for the far left, not a senator Wisconsin can count on," said NRSC Spokesman Tate Mitchell.

Can Republicans win?

Senator Ron Johnson proved the answer is yes. He beat former Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes in one of the most expensive races in the country and where abortion was a key issue.

Johnson and State Treasurer John Leiber are the only two Wisconsin Republicans to win a statewide election since former President Donald Trump's big win in 2016.

Democrats were five for five during statewide November elections in 2018 and three for five in 2022.

In nonpartisan Wisconsin Supreme Court races, the liberal-leaning candidates have won three out of five races in the same time period.

Who will challenge Baldwin?

The potential list starts with the Republicans in Congress: Bryan Steil and Mike Gallagher. Both will get a lot of encouragement to run, but timing is everything in life and politics. Steil and Gallagher have new leadership roles in the House, and yet neither has suggested a strong desire to run for the Senate in 2024.

Other names to likely come up include businessmen Eric Hovde and Kevin Nicholson. Both have tried in the past. Hovde made a strong primary challenge in 2012. Nicholson fell short in the 2018 primary but carried more than 55 counties. He dropped out of the Republican primary for governor in 2022.

Reports have suggested former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke Jr. and Franklin Businessman Scott Mayer are thinking about it.

2024 will also be another presidential battleground year in Wisconsin, with the Republicans hosting their national convention in Milwaukee. Democrats just announced they will be in Chicago.

Now that Baldwin is out of the campaign gate early for 2024, clarity is likely to come quickly for potential challengers.

But with 19 months (about 1 and a half years) to go until the November election, one thing is for certain: It may be five o'clock somewhere - but there's always an election season in Wisconsin.

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