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Doyle Not Running for Re-Election

Mind you, this is off an email from the Politico, but this just made 2010 extremely interesting here in the Badger State.

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D) will announce this week that he won’t seek a third term in 2010, sources familiar with his decision tell POLITICO.

I’ll have thoughts on who will get in on the soon-to-be Democratic Primary tomorrow, family matters notwithstanding.

UPDATE: Okay the story from the Politico is up.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle has told associates he will announce this week that he won’t seek a third term in 2010, POLITICO has learned.

By deciding against a run, Doyle, a Democrat, sets off what could be one of the most competitive gubernatorial races in the country next year.

The governor has been coy for months about his intentions, stockpiling money but at the same time not saying publicly whether he would run for re-election.

But sources familiar with his decision not to seek a third term say Doyle recognized the difficulties he may have faced next year.

He’s had to raise taxes and fees while furloughing state workers to help plug a $6.6 billion budget deficit. In doing so, his approval numbers have fallen below 40 percent. And just this week, he faced the embarrassment of seeing his legal counsel quit because she hadn’t passed the state bar.

“His legal counsel resigns, poll numbers have been in the tank, the state’s unemployment rate is hovering above 9 percent, he’s bickering with Dem lawmakers on the Finance Committee, and he’s taking shots from the Madison media over one of his appointments to the Dane County bench,” wrote the popular state political site Wispolitics.com in their insider “Stock Market” column last week. “And there’s continued heartburn among Dems because he still hasn’t officially announced if he’s running for governor next year. It all adds up to a rough patch for the guv, insiders from both sides say.”

National Democratic strategists privately expressed concern about Doyle’s re-election prospects, especially in the face of a strong GOP field that includes Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former Rep. Mark Neumann.

Doyle’s office and the Democratic Governors Association did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.

With Doyle retiring, a slew of Wisconsin Democrats are likely to consider the race. That list is topped by Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton, who has already indicated she would run if Doyle does not and who would be the state’s first female governor.

By next year, though, Lawton may be running as an incumbent.

For months, buzz has circulated in Wisconsin and national political circles that Doyle is in line for an Obama administration post. The governor got behind the president early in the Democratic race, well before the Wisconsin primary in which Obama thumped Hillary Clinton.

When asked about a prospective Obama post by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last month, Doyle issued a statement with ample wiggle room.

“I have never ever asked for any [Washington] position,” the governor said. “I’ve never asked anybody on my behalf to ask for any position. I have no intention of doing anything but serving out this term.”

But both Doyle, 63, and his wife hail from prominent political families and an administration job may represent a capstone to a career that has included time in the Peace Corps, as Dane County (Madison) attorney and as state attorney general.

In addition to Lawton, other potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates include Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Rep. Ron Kind and state Sen. Joe Erpenbach.

I could potentially see a five-way Democratic race.  Frankly, Doyle leaving is the only way the Democrats even have a shot of keeping the Governor’s Mansion.

UPDATE II: The Journal Sentinel is doing constant updates on the story.  They report the following:

Mike Tate, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said he would not comment on the report.

Tate spent the better part of last year working as Doyle’s “Campaign Manager / Fund Raiser” when he wasn’t running front group PACs to help Democratic State Senate candidates.

UPDATE III: The Chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin may be tongue-tied, but Reince Priebus, Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman has issued the following statement.

“Whether or not Governor Doyle runs again, Republicans will be well-positioned to take back the governor’s office next year and get to work making Wisconsin great again.
With a common-sense, positive plan for job growth and controlling health care costs while maintaining consumer choice, our agenda is a welcome contrast to the Democrats’ record of higher taxes and bigger government. We look forward to taking that message directly to the voters.
Better days are ahead for the working families of Wisconsin.”
Time will tell us all what’s going on in the next week I suppose.
UPDATE IV: Statement from Doyle’s office is out.  In short, announcement on Monday. (From Fox 11 in Green Bay.)

According to a report out of Madison, Governor Jim Doyle has told associates that he will announce this coming week that he will not seek re-election in 2010.

Doyle’s office released a statement saying he plans to make an announcement about his future on Monday.

Sources tell our sister station in Madison that Doyle will not try for a third term as governor. POLITICO is also citing unnamed sources that Doyle will not seek re-election.

While Doyle has not said whether he would seek a third term, the 63 year-old Democrat has been widely expected to seek re-election. In April he had already raised more than one million dollars for the 2010 race.

UPDATE V: Sources to Wispolitics.com confirm what is assumed.  The announcement Monday will be Doyle announcing he will not seek re-election, but he will stay on for the remainder of his term in office.

Gov. Jim Doyle, the first Wisconsin Democrat to win re-election as governor since Patrick Lucey in 1974, will not seek a third term, sources confirmed to WisPolitics.com today.

Doyle spokesman Lee Sensenbrenner said Doyle will make an announcement about his future on Monday but Sensenbrenner wouldn’t elaborate further.

One source said Doyle is expected to serve out the remainder of this term, which ends in January 2011. Doyle turns 65 in November 2010.

UPDATE VI: “Wisconsin Interests Now,” the Doyle Recall group is declaring victory over the Doyle news.  I say…yeah, whatever.

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