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Democratic U.S. Rep. Baldwin will run for Kohl’s Senate seat in Wisconsin

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, will pursue the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Herb Kohl.

In an email message sent to supporters Tuesday morning, Baldwin cited Wall Street reform, economic justice for the middle class and withdrawal from Afghanistan as issues on which her campaign will focus.

“I’ve decided to run for the U.S. Senate because I believe Wisconsin families need a senator who will work hard to deliver results for the middle class — a leader with the courage to do what’s right, no matter how tough the odds or how powerful the special interests we have to fight,” she wrote.

“I can’t wait to take my fight to the Senate: a fight to grow our economy, protect seniors, force Wall Street to clean up its act, and bring our troops home from Afghanistan. And I can’t wait to see you on the trail as we bring our campaign to every corner of Wisconsin.”

Baldwin is the first openly gay woman in the U.S. House. And, if she wins the 2012 race for U.S. Senate, she will become the first openly gay person to serve in that chamber.

“I know that, in this campaign, we’ll be up against some powerful special interests. But I’ve beaten the odds before. All my life, the naysayers have told me that I can’t win because I’m a progressive … because I’m a woman … even because I’m a lesbian. And I’ve proven them wrong because I’ve had rock-solid supporters like you standing with me,” she said.

On the GOP side, several individuals have been rumored as potential candidates — including former Gov. and 2008 presidential candidate Tommy Thompson. Former Wisconsin Rep. Mark Neumann, however, is the only person to make it official.

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who was rumored to be considering a run, recently announced that he would not seek any elected office in 2012.

Baldwin’s candidacy has already drawn support from EMILY’s List president Shephanie Schriock, who labeled Baldwin in a prepared statement as a “dedicated and hardworking leader.”

“In office she has tirelessly advocated for affordable access to women’s health care and equal rights for all Americans. Tammy has earned a strong economic record in the House — standing for jobs and small business against corporate lobbying interests and unfair trade deals. She has consistently spoken out against the GOP war on women and we need her strong voice in the Senate. We’re thrilled she’s thrown her hat in the ring and are excited that this race is starting,” Schriock said.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, also put out a statement, saying, “Tammy Baldwin’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate is monumental for both the state of Wisconsin and the country’s LGBT community. Tammy has proven herself as an effective legislator over the course of her 13 years in Congress and this campaign will be a top priority for the Human Rights Campaign.”

Baldwin’s introductory message is embedded below:

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