Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who lost to Gov. Scott Walker in November 2010, is considering running against the Republican again — this time in a recall election in early 2012.
Two sources have told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Democratic mayor and former congressman, who has unsuccessfully run twice for governor, is "seriously considering" running in a recall election. He is expected to make an announcement in early January, the newspaper reports.
Of course, it still remains to be seen if there will be a recall election. Recall organizers need to collect more than 540,000 valid signatures by Jan. 17 to force an election. United Wisconsin, the group spearheading the recall effort, said earlier this month that , but there is no way of knowing how many of those are valid.
In the November 2010 election, Walker defeated Barrett by about 124,000 votes — or 6 percentage points. In 2002, Barrett, who was then a congressman, ran in the Democratic gubernatorial primary but lost to Jim Doyle, who serve two terms as governor.
As recall proponents continue to collect signatures, one of the lingering questions is who would run against Walker in an election.
The only person to state definitively that he would run against Walker is state Sen. Tim Cullen of Janesville.
Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who certainly has statewide name recognition, told Today's TMJ4 that he will not be a candidate for public office in 2012. Feingold, a Democrat who was defeated in his 2010 re-election bid, is currently teaching at Marquette University.
Another possibility is former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, .
Other names that have surfaced include former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey and Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin.
While Barrett, who has been active in Wisconsin politics since 1984, has statewide name recognition, apparently not everyone is convinced he would be the party's best candidate in a recall race.
The Journal Sentinel reported last week that leaders of two major public employee unions met privately with Barrett to urge him not to run in a recall election.
The union leaders apparently believe that Falk would have a better chance to win a race against Walker, the newspaper said.