Mike Sheridan mulling run for state Senate

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Frank Schultz
Thursday, February 27, 2014

JANESVILLE—Janesville's Mike Sheridan, who was voted out of office in 2010, is considering a return to the state Legislature.

The former Democratic speaker of the state Assembly indicated in an email Thursday he might run for state Senate.

The 15th District Senate seat is up for grabs in November because the incumbent, Democrat Tim Cullen of Janesville, is stepping down.

Sheridan said in an email to The Gazette on Thursday that he had encouraged Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Milton, to run for state Senate.

Jorgensen announced Tuesday he would not run for Senate. Sheridan said that announcement surprised him.

“With that said, I am not prepared to jump into this race before taking the time to talk to family, friends, supporters and community members,” Sheridan wrote in his email. “After doing this I will make a decision. Over the last few months, since Senator Cullen made his announcement, I have talked to many of our areas citizens. I appreciate their encouraging words and also their solid advice.”

The only person to declare she is running to replace Cullen is Rep. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville.

Another prominent local Democrat, Sheriff Bob Spoden, said he is definitely not running for Senate and will announce his candidacy for re-election as sheriff next month.

Sheridan was elected to the Assembly in 2004 and ascended to the powerful position of Assembly speaker in 2009.

Sheridan in 2010 disclosed he was dating a lobbyist for the payday loan industry around the time he softened his stance on regulating that industry. Sheridan was going through a divorce at the time.

If he were to run again, Sheridan wrote, he would do so to work for “good, family-supporting jobs, support for public education and infrastructure investment in our local communities. When I talk with voters in our community, they say it's time to move forward and utilize bipartisan cooperation in solving problems.”

Sheridan has been the lobbyist for the state AFL-CIO since 2012.

Republican Joe Knilans of Janesville defeated Sheridan in 2010. Knilans served two years before being defeated by Democrat Debra Kolste.

Kolste has said she has no interest in running for Senate.

There's been little talk on the street about a Republican candidate for the Senate seat.

Rick Richard, rural Janesville, who ran for the seat in 2010, said Thursday that “right now, I'm not planning on running.”

Potential candidates often announce their intentions at their parties' annual gatherings.

The Republican Party of Rock and Walworth counties' annual Lincoln Day Dinner is Saturday at the Lake Lawn Lodge in Delavan.

The 1st District Democratic Convention is March 15 at the United Auto Workers hall in Oak Creek.

The first day to circulate nomination papers for state offices is April 15. The filing deadline is June 2.

Primary elections would be Aug. 12

Last updated: 5:04 pm Thursday, February 27, 2014

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