U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, has accused Republican Gov. Scott Walker of “budgetary and fiscal malpractice” in rejecting addition federal money for health care for Wisconsin’s poor.

The Walker decision means higher costs for businesses, higher state taxpayer costs, and it will leave many vulnerable citizens “without any coverage,” Kind said in a brief statement.

The statement is sure to spur speculation that Kind, who has been in the Congress since 1997, could be a Democratic opponent against Walker in 2014. Kind was mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate in the 2012 recall election, but he opted not to make that race.

Walker is being touted as a possibility on the Republican national ticket in 2016. He has been giving speeches across the country to conservative groups. Walker has refused to promise whether he would serve out a second four-year term as governor if re-elected in 2014.

Wisconsin remains sharply divided politically, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll. The poll numbers have improved slightly for both Walker and President Barack Obama, perhaps a reflection of an improved economy.

The tipping point of political influence in the state may be among the 11 percent who said they voted both for Walker in the recall election and for Obama for a second term in the White House. The Marquette poll showed there are very few citizens without an opinion of Walker and his performance.

Speculation about a 2014 challenge by Kind comes in part from the lack of other potential Democratic candidates. Some might suggest that the gubernatorial candidate would come from the state Senate.

That would allow Republicans to renew their criticism of the senators who went to Illinois to slow down the rush to enact the GOP bill gutting public-employee unionism in Wisconsin. Republicans would be quick to charge the senators had abandoned their responsibility.

Walker would like the election spotlight on that topic rather than on issues such as the number of new jobs in Wisconsin (he pledged to create 250,000 in his first four years in office, the muddle at his new economic development corporation or the focus on private, rather than public, elementary and secondary education.

There is a contrast between Walker and Kind in another area. Walker dropped out of Marquette University without an undergraduate degree. Kind has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a law degree from the University of Minnesota.

But Walker will have far more campaign money than whoever is the Democratic candidate next year. Deep-pocketed conservatives across the country poured millions of dollars into the recall election last year. His union-busting has made him a hero on the right.

Running against Walker would be a courageous act for Kind. The congressional boundaries created by Republicans in the wake of the 2010 census created three very Democratic districts, including Kind’s in western Wisconsin, and five strong Republican districts. He can be in the House of Representatives for a very long time.

It was the first time in a half-century that one political party had totally controlled the development of boundary lines for congressional and legislative districts. It will give Republicans a strong edge in legislative elections for a decade.

That gerrymandering has made the governor’s chair the only real opportunity for Democrats to have a role in the state Capitol.

Matt Pommer has covered state government in Madison for 35 years.

(25) comments

deezus
deezus

Governor Walker has obviously missed the mark on his jobs goal, but I don't see anyone being a genuine contender against him from this state. Democrats have a leadership vacuum here in Wisconsin which is why they run people like Barrett two times in a row. Yes Kind would be better than Barrett, but that isn't saying much since Barrett would have been horrible.

Comment deleted.
retiredone

kuppers-great post

Anonangel
Anonangel

Omg dem or republican , they are all the same ! Neither party has the people's interest in mind. We need decent , working class , citizens to run for office . If that doesn't happen we will continue to run full steam ahead into that brick wall.

Balancr

Ron's likable - but not as well known. Not likely to raise nearly the funding. Walker will be well funded - there are powerful people who would be afraid of his loss given the National GOP agenda. Kind would've able to dodge the fate of the 14 that left. He wouldn't have the fake toughness that made Barrett look like a Walker runner up, but he'd have to contend with Walker's confidence and collected presence. I just don't see him winning at this time, but I do think it would help his career which I think is bright. He's well spoken and sounds authentic - sounds like he cares

retiredone

He is as authentic as a $3 bill. Nice smile but nothing in the head.

superman
superman

Please Run Ron!

Linehart

And to Anonangel: Of course we can't get a common person to run. Common people aren't qualified. They don't know how to sell their souls to the highest bidder. They often realize facts actually mean something. And most of them are reasonably honest. Oh, and they actually care about their country.

To be a professional politician you must be a liar, a coward, capable of magical thinking, and have absolutely no moral compass. You must be loyal to yourself first, contributors second, party third and country when it coincides with the first three.

Linehart

Oz, can you name a democrat you could get excited about? Just name one. Betcha can't.

oz

For the Dems to win, they need a candidate that people can get excited about. Barret was not exciting. And even though I would vote for him if he ran, Kind is about as exciting as a Ken doll.

Buggs Raplin

Feingold?

superman
superman

Great Candidate!

Buggs Raplin

Please compliment the above commentator...

Seriously Now
Seriously Now

How about not seeking "excitement" and start looking for competence?

Buggs Raplin

Well, it may fall upon Ron to take up the battle as I think we're all tired of Tom Barrett running for governor.

superman
superman

Yeah, what a drama queen.

Blutarski

to the dude that wrote this bogus article really likes to point out that he "Gut busted" Gut busted the unions. That he made "Deep pocketed conservatives happy." with union busting. That's not why we are happy. Were happy because he said he would do something in his campaign and he did it. He didn't lie. Were happy because he is living up to his word. Love that you also point out that he dropped out and Ronnie went on to great colleges. Doesn't make him a genius or he would be serving on the committees that matter. He serves on nothing of consequence. Maybe that farm committee.

Opus
Opus

Did Walker say he was going to bust unions? Nope.
Did Walker say he was going to gut the education budget? Nope.
Has he deeply divided this state? Yup.
Has he passed on the budget deficit to future generations? Yup.
Hmmm....so none of THOSE where promises....what did he promise? Oh yeah! I remember! JOBS! Has he lived up to his word? Not even close. Are ya still happy Blutarski?

Blutarski

PAAALLLLEEEEEASE have Ron Kind run for governor. His quote is "Hes about fiscal malpractice" and yet Ronnie voted for every Obama tax and spend increase since being in office. And 95% of democrat bills. He is one of the laziest congressman in Washington. Certainly not a Paul Ryan. He would get his clock cleaned. He would need to run in other parts of the state not just the left coast of Wisconsin. Parts of the state that have NEVER heard of him as he hasn't done ANYTHING in congress. This would also remove him from congress and open up the space to someone who really cares. RUN RONNIE RUN!!!

Mobley

Anyone but scottie koch-walker please! How about Bernie Brewer!

Seriously Now
Seriously Now

It's going to be an epic battle. Whatever your side, VOTE!

taxedout
taxedout

Matt: So was this a letter about whether Ron Kind will or should run against Scott Walker or where you just using print to bash Scott Walker? Me thinks, it was the later!

I hope Ron Kind does run for governor. He is a political worm who stands for nothing. If he's the best the Democrats can do, bring him on! I'd love to see him debate. He'll have brush up on the old cliches in order to pull a win there.

By the time Obama is done with his vacation in the White House, the Dems will have to resurrect JFK to get a winning candidate!

Tim Russell
Tim Russell

It's NOT a letter dolt.

taxedout
taxedout

Great response,Tim. Dolt? Good one! Love comments by intellectuals like you but in the future, I prefer your usual personal attacks such as idiot or moron. What the heck is your problem?

Anonangel
Anonangel

And we don't need another lawyer in office !!

Anonangel
Anonangel

For the love if god, can we get a common, everyday , working person to run for office ??

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