Written for Examiner.com August 17, 2009 – View Original Article Online
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle confirmed reports he would not seek a third term. He announced at his Monday morning news conference in Madison he thinks limiting his service to two terms is a “national norm” that “serves a good purpose.”
“But I am not going to go Brett Favre on you. I am announcing my decision now to allow other candidates to step forward and get going.” Doyle’s reference to Green Bay’s indecisive quarterback got a laugh from those in attendance.
The two-term Democrat kept his thanks to family, staff and supporters somewhat brief. He said today’s announcement was not for emotional goodbyes. Doyle made it clear he intends to complete his current term, and seemed to rebuke the idea that he would become a ‘lame duck.’
Doyle expressed the belief that by not running in 2010 he would be able to focus on governing rather than a reelection campaign. The Governor said he feels a lot can be accomplished in his final year-and-a-half in office. This could become a reality considering both the State Senate and Assembly have a Democratic majority. The party could decide to push through legislation for Doyle’s approval, seeing that it’s possible a Republican candidate could win the gubernatorial election in 2010.
Doyle touted some of what he called his major accomplishments in recent months. They included the state’s smoking ban, renewable energy plans, and partnership rights for same sex couples. Some have pointed to Doyle’s falling approval rating as a reason why he may be unwilling to run in 2010. This morning, Doyle told reporters it was too early to tell if that would have been a factor, and added he thought he would have run a good campaign.
As for his future, Governor Doyle said he still hasn’t made up his mind. However, he told reporters he informed the Obama administration he wants to stay in Wisconsin. There had been speculation Doyle could receive some sort of position with President Obama’s cabinet. Doyle also said he would have liked to delay today’s announcement until January, but realized that could negatively affect Democratic candidates and their campaigns.
Names on the short list for the Democratic gubernatorial ticket in 2010 include Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton of Green Bay, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of La Crosse, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett is recovering in a Milwaukee hospital after getting injured when stepping into a fight to help a woman at the state fair this weekend. Meantime, Milwaukee police say the man accused of hitting Barrett with a pipe has been arrested. No Democratic candidates have officially announced their candidacy. However, Lt. Governor Lawton told the Associated Press in March of 2008 she would consider running in 2010 if Doyle decided not to seek a third term.
Two prominent Republicans have already entered the race; Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former Congressman Mark Neumann of Nashotah. Both spoke out about Doyle’s decision before the announcement this morning. The Republicans talked over the phone with WTAQ’s Jerry Bader on his morning radio program in Green Bay.