The race for the Republican U.S. Senate primary could get even more crowded. Wispolitics.com is reporting that outgoing state Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel is planning to enter the race. If that happens, he would be the third candidate seeking the GOP nomination so far. The others are Madison-area developer Terrence Wall and Watertown businessman David Westlake.
Leinenkugel announced Tuesday that he was stepping down from his post as Secretary in order to pursue a new opportunity, although he has not yet officially provided any details about what that may be.
UW-Madison Political Scientist Charles Franklin says Leinenkugel would face a similar challenge as Wall and Westlake in the race, because all three are not very well known politically around the state. Franklin says Leinenkugel is associated with a popular beverage, but he’s not necessarily a household name.
There could still end up being another candidate if former Governor Tommy Thompson decides to run. However, Franklin doubts that decision will be effected if Leinenkugel enters the race. He says the polls show Thompson would have little trouble winning the Republican primary, and recent numbers even show him defeating current U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) in the general election.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:11)