Two years after winning a recall election to win back his seat in 2011, state Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, announced Monday he will enter the field for lieutenant governor in 2014.
Mike Tate, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said the party was excited to see Lehman enter the race for lieutenant governor.
“We welcome Senator Lehman and his strong progressive voice into the race as part of the larger movement to restore Wisconsin values, get our economy back on track and put a stop to Scott Walker’s radical agenda,” Tate said in the statement.
Lehman is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy in the race.
If Lehman wins in a Democratic primary, he would face current Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.
Kleefisch and Gov. Scott Walker promised to improve the economy and create 250,000 jobs for Wisconsin by the end of their term, which Jonathan Wetzel, Kleefisch’s spokesperson, said voters will want to continue into another term.
“We’ve seen our best two-year job growth in a decade under any governor,” Wetzel said in an e-mail to The Badger Herald. “We are confident that voters will want to continue moving forward with the Walker/Kleefisch administration and have no desire to return to the failed policies of the past.”
Lehman is a former teacher from Racine, where he served on the city council from 1988 until 2000. He was elected to the state Assembly in 1996, representing parts of Racine until 2006 when he began his first term in the state Senate.
Lehman lost his seat in 2011 to Rep. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine. However, he reclaimed the seat in 2012 in a recall election after the district boundaries were changed to include historically conservative parts of western Kenosha and Racine.
Jonathan Steitz, a Republican candidate running for Lehman’s seat for the 2014 election, said Lehman’s announcement reinforces the fact that a Republican candidate will win the next state Senate race.
“The winner of the Republican primary will undoubtedly win the seat in this very conservative district,” Steitz said in a statement. “I’ve heard from numerous residents of the 21st District who are looking for a candidate with principled, conservative values to represent them in Madison.”