Paul Ryan Won't Run for Senate in 2012

Paul Ryan Won't Run for Senate in 2012

By Alex Katz - May 17, 2011

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced Tuesday that he will not run next year for the Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl.

"What matters to me is not the title. It's my ability to impact policy," Ryan said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It would take me, you know, 12 to 16 years in the Senate to get where I am in the House. I don't want to be in Congress for the rest of my life."

Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has gained national prominence in recent months as the budget has become a central issue in Washington. In the last few days, he was contacted by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn about a possible Senate run.

But Ryan told the Journal Sentinel that he was able to make a quick decision because he never wanted to run for Senate. He is in a strong position to become chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee in 2013.

Before Ryan's announcement, reports indicated that Tommy Thompson, the former Republican governor of Wisconsin and secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush, has told friends he will likely launch a bid for the open Senate seat. Rep. Mark Neumann is also expected to contend for the GOP nomination.

As for Democrats, former Sen. Russ Feingold has been encouraged by liberal activists to run but hasn't yet indicated his plans. Other potential candidates include Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Kind.

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Alex Katz

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