Longtime Democratic state senator won't seek re-election

MADISON — Another longtime Democratic Wisconsin state senator announced Tuesday he won't seek re-election this fall.

Mark Miller of Monona announced on the Senate floor that he won't run again this November. A former fighter pilot, Miller has served in the Senate since 2004. He was the minority leader when Senate Democrats fled to Illinois in 2011 in a vain attempt to block a vote on then-Gov. Scott Walker's signature law that stripped public workers of their union rights.

Miller told his colleagues Tuesday that a winner-take-all culture has come to dominate political campaigns and government. He suggested legislators schedule committee hearings and votes on any bills with bipartisan sponsors and a nonpartisan process for drawing legislative district boundaries.

Miller is the second Democratic senator to announce his retirement this month. Sen. Dave Hansen of Green Bay announced Jan. 9 that he won't seek re-election in November. He has served in the Senate since 2001.

Republicans currently control the Senate 19-14. The retirements of Miller and Hansen will create two open seats. Miller's district covers much of Madison and its eastern suburbs and leans heavily Democratic. The district's three Assembly representatives, Gary Hebl, Jimmy Anderson and Melissa Sargent, are all Democrats.

Sargent called Miller a “progressive champion” in a statement. She did not say whether she would run for his seat.

Hansen's district leans heavily conservative. Democrats will face an uphill fight to hold onto it in November.