Comparing the Democratic, Republican parties generationally
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- The Wisconsin Republican resurgence has been notable for a number of reasons. One of them is the relative youth of the Party's three top stars. Mitt Romney's running mate and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Gov. Scott Walker and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus are all in their early 40s and a number of young guns in the state Legislature are poised to move up. On the Democratic side, the Party appears to be turning the page as a generation of progressive Democrats ease off the stage.
Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold was defeated in 2010 and says he will not return to electoral politics at least for awhile.
"I'm enjoying not doing it right now. I'm not going to make any decision about that for a couple of years," Feingold said.
Retiring Wisconsin U.S. Senator Herb Kohl is leaving his seat at the end of his fourth term, and former Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle says he's done.
"I''ve been at this a long time, and now there are other people who are going to come on the stage," Doyle said.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is still viewed as a viable statewide candidate just wrapped up two unsuccessful runs for governor and says he's now concentrating only on being Milwaukee's mayor.
"What you see, you will see people working in campaigns now who worked on the 2008, 2010, 2012 campaigns. Those people will start to emerge as candidates because they've got the experience and the training," Barrett said.
Barrett singled out state Representatives Cory Mason and Mark Pocan as emerging stars in the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
State Senator Lena Taylor has been a vocal advocate for progressive causes, who raised her state and national profile during the 2011 budget fight.
Mike Tate, the energetic Democratic Party chairman is young, and could be a candidate at some point.
Jason Rae was the youngest member ever of the Democratic National Committee and is now in charge of the National Youth Caucus at the age of 25.
"I've thought about it, but right now, I'm focused on 2012 and this election," Rae said.
In Wisconsin, the biggest question is who is ready to take on Gov. Walker. The gubernatorial campaign will begin in about a year.
Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind is looked at as a potential challenger.
"What do we need to do? Come together and start working together for the improvement of our state. I've got a full plate right now, but you never know what might hold in the future," Kind said.
Kind isn't throwing his hat in the ring yet, but he seriously considered running in the recall election against Gov. Walker, before deciding to wait. He also says the next candidate for governor should come from outside the Milwaukee-Madison radius (Kind is from western Wisconsin.)
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