Four-term incumbent Democrat Herb Kohl, owner of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and member of the founding family of the Kohl's department store chain, announced he would not seek reelection in 2012.He was reelected in 2006 with 67% of the vote.
U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin announced her intention to run for the seat on September 6. Other potential candidates for the Democrats include former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, and Madison biotechnology executive Kevin Conroy. Both candidates declined to run and Baldwin became the only Democrat nominee.
On the Republican side, Business Mananger Eric Hovde Former Congressman Mark Neumann, Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Jeff Fitzgerald, and former Governor and former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson confirmed their candidacies for the seat.The primary was held August 14. Thompson won the Republican nomination with 34% of the vote. Hovde came in second with 31%. Baldwin was unopposed in the Democratic primary and won.
The Libertarian candidate was Joseph Kexel, an IT consultant in Kenosha.
Nimrod Allen III, a former United States Marine, ran as an independent.
Both the Democratic and Republican candidates won their party's nomination after primary elections on August 14, 2012. Baldwin was unopposed in the Democratic primary, while Thompson won with a plurality in a four-way race for the Republican nomination. Baldwin defeated Thompson and won the open seat.
Before: 2 independents (VT, CT) caucused with the Democrats
After: 2 independents (VT, ME) caucus with the Democrats.
Majority Leader before election
Harry Reid Democratic Party
Elected Majority Leader
Harry Reid Democratic Party
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