Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind said Friday he will not run for Wisconsin governor in 2018, according to the Associated Press.The announcement ends months of speculation, leaving the field wide open for a challenger to Republican incumbent Scott Walker.
Instead of taking on Walker, who is widely expected to seek a third term, Kind said in a statement to The Associated Press that he will focus on his work in Congress and run for re-election. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced in January that it would be targeting Kind’s seat next year.
Kind first won election to Congress representing western Wisconsin in 1996. He was unopposed last year, but President Donald Trump carried the congressional district by more than 4 percentage points on his way to winning Wisconsin.
Kind’s decision was not surprising, given his repeated flirtations with running for Senate or governor the past decade that came to nothing, but it does leave Democrats without their most well-known potential candidate.
Other Democrats considering a run include former state Sen. Tim Cullen, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, of Alma, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, state Rep. Dana Wachs, of Eau Claire, and Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ.