MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - There’s a report that outgoing state Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel will soon announce his Republican candidacy for the U.S. Senate. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the 52-year-old Leinenkugel is tying down a couple of “loose ends.” And then he’ll join a GOP field that could still include former Governor Tommy Thompson.
The report indicates that Leinenkugel will be in the race regardless of whether Thompson runs or not. Thompson’s decision may not come out until the state GOP convention in May. Leinenkugel’s name is widely known throughout Wisconsin, thanks to his family’s brewery in Chippewa Falls.
But former Thompson aide Bill McCoshen says it would tough for Leinenkugel to, “convince people he is a Republican after working for Doyle for 18 months.” He was referring to the possibility that Leinenkugel would be tied to the tax increases and other Democratic measures signed by Governor Jim Doyle. McCoshen said Leinenkugel’s candidacy would not affect what Thompson plans to do. There are 2 other Republicans in the Senate race – Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake. The Republican primary winner will go up against 3-term Democrat Russ Feingold in November.