State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, R-Horicon, announced Tuesday he will run for Sen. Herb Kohl’s soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat.
Fitzgerald was one of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s key supporters throughout the collective bargaining rights reform, and he believes his involvement with passing the controversial legislation will be his biggest advantage as he begins his campaign, according to a statement.
Fitzgerald said in the statement he hopes to create an alternative budgetary plan against President Barack Obama’s if he gets elected.
“In Wisconsin I led the Assembly to a balanced budget in face of fierce opposition from the status quo. I would be honored to lead a new reform movement in Washington,” Fitzgerald said in his statement.
Republican Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin’s governor for 14 years, and former U.S. Congressman Mark Neumann are also running to fill Kohl’s Senate seat in Washington.
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, who represents the Madison-encompassing 2nd congressional district, is currently the only Democratic candidate to announce a bid.
In a statement, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Fitzgerald, along with his brother, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, has been “an unquestioning tool” of corporate aiding measures by Walker and Republicans which have weakened workers rights.
Fitzgerald’s bid, he said, will convince many Wisconsinites of the necessity to recall Walker and put the Democrats in charge of the Legislature.
“The idea that Fitzgerald would carry Scott Walker’s corporate banner to Washington should add fuel to the forces of change that are about to sweep over the state,” Tate said in the statement.
Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney said in a statement that the inclusion of Fitzgerald into the Senate race will provide Wisconsin voters with another Republican candidate who is focused on creating jobs.
If Baldwin were elected to the Senate, he said in the statement, she would push for an expansion of government spending. He said the current Republican candidates, including Fitzgerald, have all previously shown that they would be more capable of helping to improve the nation’s economy without promoting large increases in spending.
Calls made to the Fitzgerald campaign were not returned as of press time.