Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced Monday that he won’t run for a third four-year term next fall. Political scientist at Marquette University Charles Franklin is surprised by the news.
“It was quite a surprise to me. I had certainly assumed he would seek a third term. And we have not seen candidates other than him — either in the Republican Party or the Democratic Party — becoming very visible and active at this stage.”
Franklin says this opens the door for an unexpectedly competitive election in the fall for the AG’s office. Van Hollen says a prosecutor would be his best replacement. Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel might consider running as a Republican. Two Democratic state representatives also might throw their hats in the ring — Milwaukee Democrat Jon Richards and Madison Democrat Chris Taylor.
As for Van Hollen? Franklin looks back to former Governor Jim Doyle who had served as the state attorney general before being elected as Wisconsin’s chief executive.
“Well after two terms in the office, it’s possible that (Van Hollen) would like to move on to other things. With Jim Doyle, the example was staying in the attorney general’s office for an opening for governor. Clearly that’s not available at this point — certainly not for a Republican.”
With this announcement, Van Hollen says he won’t have to spend his energy campaigning for another term; instead, he’ll focus on completing his term over the next year. He’s not sure what he’ll do after that.
Van Hollen was first elected in 2006. He said he achieved his first big campaign promise of eliminating the state’s backlog of DNA evidence processed at the state crime labs. He also mentioned crime-fighting efforts to protect children, and the concealed weapons law as some of his other major accomplishments.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel listed other possible contenders for the state’s top cop position, though none has commented. They are Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, Dane County D-A Ismael Ozanne, and former state Senate Democrat Jessica King of Oshkosh.