Gay state rep in Wisconsin ready to run for Baldwin’s seat, if she runs for Senate

If U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin makes a run for Wisconsin’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat, there’s another openly gay legislator ready to run for Baldwin’s seat in the U.S. House.

State Rep. Mark Pocan, who, like Baldwin, is a Democrat from Madison, told The Capital Times of Madison that he will run for Baldwin’s seat, if she chooses to run for the Senate.

“It’s all in Tammy’s hands. She starts the domino effect,” Pocan told the Times.

Pocan’s website notes that he was elected state representative in 1998, taking Baldwin’s then state seat as she won her first term in the U.S. Congress. Like Baldwin, he’s primary interests are in health and education. He owns a firm that produces signs.

Baldwin could make an announcement of her intentions after this weekend’s state Democratic convention in Milwaukee. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday, June 2, that former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold will not announce his intentions until Labor Day.

Feingold, a stronger supporter of the civil rights of LGBT people during his tenure in the Senate, lost re-election in 2008. Since then, he has been teaching at Marquette University Law School and writing a book.

One commentator, Steven Walters of a Madison-based public affairs channel and a former bureau chief for the Journal Sentinel, said Feingold’s silence “freezes” potential campaigns by Baldwin and other Democrats. But he said it also “sends a loud signal that [Feingold] won’t” run.

Baldwin has indicated she is very seriously considering a run for the seat that will be vacated by current U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) when he retires in 2012.

According to the Journal Sentinel, Feingold has “talked to other potential Democratic Senate candidates” and “urged them to get out and start doing things.”

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