Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., is the latest member to announce his retirement , opening up another potentially competitive congressional district.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel reveled in Petri’s exit, but there is no initial indication that his seat is falling into Democratic hands in 2014. Barack Obama carried the 6th District, 49.4 percent to 49.2 percent, in 2008, but Mitt Romney won it by seven percentage points four years later.
Petri was facing a primary challenge from state Sen. Glenn Grothman before he announced his decision. Grothman may have been able to consolidate tea party support against Petri, but that will be much more difficult in an open-seat race, according to one GOP source in Wisconsin.
State Rep. Duey Strobel has jumped into the race and former Scott Walker aide John Hiller has formed an exploratory committee on the Republican side. But others could still get in before the June 2 filing deadline.
Two of the biggest names mentioned early include state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and state Sen. Joe Leibham. According to sources, it seems unlikely that they would run against each other, and either of them would have to give up his seat in order to run, unlike Grothman. Fitzgerald announced on Monday that he wouldn’t run.
The GOP’s control of the state Senate is in question since state Senate President Mike Ellis dropped his re-election bid after a secretly recorded video showed him discussing the creation of an illegal political action committee to attack his challenger.
Businessman and 2004 Senate nominee Tim Michels is also mentioned and could invest some of his personal money into the race. Ozaukee County Supervisor Joe Dean is mentioned as well.
On the Democratic side, Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris and Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels are mentioned as potential candidates.
Clarified 1:01pm | An earlier version of this story listed Hiller as an official candidate and Fitzgerald as a potential candidate.