Mike Sheridan likely to run for Senate seat

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Jim Leute
Thursday, April 10, 2014

JANESVILLE—Encouraged by a poll that suggests he would be a strong candidate for the 15th Senate District, Mike Sheridan said Thursday he likely will announce his candidacy next week.

“I've gotten lots of calls, and I want to take the weekend to think about,” said Sheridan, the former Democrat who represented Janesville in the 44th Assembly District and was Assembly speaker when he was unseated in 2010.

A poll posted Wednesday on the WisPolitics website showed that Sheridan and the only declared candidate, Rep. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville, are in a virtual dead heat for the August primary.

Ringhand is giving up her 45th Assembly District seat to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville.

In February, Sheridan told The Gazette he had asked Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Milton, to run for state Senate.

When Jorgensen declined, Sheridan said his phone started ringing.

A former General Motors employee and president of United Auto Workers Local 95, Sheridan was first elected to the Assembly in 2004 and ascended to the powerful position of Assembly speaker in 2009.

Soon thereafter, he disclosed he was dating a lobbyist for the payday loan industry around the time he softened his stance on regulating that industry. He was going through a divorce at the time.

Wednesday's poll, which surveyed 305 likely voters in the August primary, found that Sheridan received twice as many favorable reactions as he did unfavorable.

According to the California company that conducted the poll, that represents “the first indication that any possible damage to his image from the lobbying controversy in his final term as Speaker is minor.”

Asked Thursday who sponsored the poll, Sheridan said it was done by a number of different labor groups.

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

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