Herb Kohl Retires

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 13 2011 11:46 AM

Herb Kohl Retires

The senior senator from Wisconsin, one of the most low-key and media-shy members of the body,* is retiring. Begins now the era of Irresponsible Speculation and Frantic Phone Calls!

Among the possible Kohl replacements on the Democratic side: Rep. Tammy Baldwin (who represents Madison and would be the first openly gay senator), Rep. Ron Kind (a charming wonk who survived a tough race in 2010), and Tom Barrett (the mayor of Milwaukee who lost to Scott Walker in 2010). Among the replacements on the GOP side: Former congressman Mark Neumann (who lost the 2010 primary to Walker) and Attorney General JB Van Hollen. The celebrity potential candidates on either side are Russ Feingold and Paul Ryan.


Polling this year has revealed at least a little buyer's remorse about the 2010 GOP wave. Anne Kloppenburg probably lost the Supreme Court race, but she came from 30 points behind to tie it up after an aggressive campaign by unions. Democratic enthusiasm was muted last year; that will not be a problem in 2012. Democrats won't get the advantage of a sleepy, everybody-run-from-the-millionaire race, but they surely start with an advantage.

The statement from Russ Feingold:

Senator Kohl has served the state with honor.  He will be remembered for his advocacy for our state's dairy farmers, his work on behalf of children and his keen understanding of our state's business community.  I sincerely wish him all the best.

*There were reasons. Kohl focused on un-headline-grabbing issues like aging and child safety. He never participated in the scrums around Capitol Hill where reporters fish for news and quotes, but he never really took on big bills. And as anyone who watched Supreme Court hearings can testify, he was not among the Senate's toughest questioners.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

U.S. Begins Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059


Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

How in the World Did Turkey Just Get 46 Hostages Back From ISIS?

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.