EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A Democratic state senator from our area is not ruling out a possible run against Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to seek a third term.
We asked Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) if there is any chance that she runs for governor again at the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues event Friday morning. Vinehout was part of a panel of six state lawmakers who answered questions about issues like the best ways to fund Wisconsin's transportation infrastructure and schools. Afterwards, she told WEAU where she stands on the 2018 race for governor.
"I'm definitely exploring the opportunity," she said. "Actively, right now, it's too early to make a decision, but I will keep you posted."
Vinehout, who turned 59 Friday, has served in Wisconsin's 31st senate district since 2006. The district includes much of Eau Claire and goes south and west into Pierce, Pepin and Buffalo County, as well as parts of Dunn, Trempealeau and Jackson County. Vinehout ran for governor in the 2012 recall election, but finished third in the primary. She opted against running for governor in 2014, saying that her injury in a December 2013 car accident prevented her from running the kind of campaign that would have been necessary to win.
Late Friday morning, we left a message with Walker's campaign spokesman, seeking comment. Friday afternoon, a Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesman replied with this statement:
“Tax-and-spend liberal Kathleen Vinehout has built her career in Madison putting liberal special interests before hard-working Wisconsin families—even authoring the largest tax increase in state history. Governor Walker is returning authority to tax-payers and making sure that hard-working families keep more of their money.”
An event posted to Facebook invites people to meet Vinehout Saturday afternoon in Viroqua and describes her as a "potential candidate for Governor in 2018."