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State Sen. Lehman joins race for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor

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November 20, 2013

State Sen. John Lehman

By Greg Janetka

MADISON, Wisconsin: Democrats got their first candidate for Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor this week as state Sen. John Lehman announced his intention to run for the statewide position rather than seek re-election.[1]

Lehman has served the people of Racine in District 21 since defeating Van Wanggaard (R) in a recall election in June 2012. Lehman previously held the seat from 2007-2011, losing it to Wanggaard in the November 2010 election.

Following last year's Republican-led redistricting, District 21 became a much more conservative district, leaving Lehman little chance of re-election.[2] In his announcement, however, Lehman said his decision was based on the fact that no other candidates were stepping up for Democrats. “There was no one else, as I talked to folks, running for lieutenant governor. I think [Democrats] have a really good chance in this November election.”[3]

If another Democrat does declare in the race, Lehman would face a primary for the nomination in August. The nominee is then paired up with the party's gubernatorial candidate and they run on a shared ticket. Currently Mary Burke is the only declared Democratic contender for governor. However, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout is considering a bid as well.

On the Republican side, Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch are the presumptive nominees. Walker's name has been bandied about as a potential candidate for President in 2016, something that gained traction this week with his release of a book entitled, “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge.” Although he emphatically stated it is "not a campaign book," he has not ruled out a presidential run and declined to pledge to serve a full four year term if re-elected. That possibility has focused more attention on the lieutenant governor, who would automatically take over the position.[4]

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