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Neither development was unexpected, but the group’s backing confirms Baldwin will have the support of outside groups that are excited about her potentially groundbreaking candidacy. Along with EMILY’s List, which works to elect women who support abortion rights, gay and lesbian groups also began lining up behind the seven-term Congresswoman even before her candidacy was official. Baldwin could become the first openly gay Senator.
“Tammy Baldwin has been a champion of progressive values and a strong voice for women and families in the House of Representatives,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement. “Since taking office in 1999, Tammy has been an EMILY’s List hero and our community of almost 1 million members has been looking forward to this race for a long time.”
Baldwin is running for the seat of retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D). Rep. Ron Kind and former Rep. Steve Kagen are both keeping their names in the mix for the Democratic primary, but Baldwin would be the early favorite against either, should they actually run. Baldwin already has $1.1 million in cash on hand and is looking at a national fundraising windfall with help from the outside groups.
On the Republican side, former Rep. Mark Neumann and state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald have already announced their candidacies, and former Gov. Tommy Thompson and state Sen. Frank Lasee are expected to enter the fray.