In 2010, then-Gov. Joe Manchin won the seat previously held by state legend Robert Byrd by running to President Obama's right, and blasting his initiatives such as a cap-and-trade bill. After winning the special election following Byrd's death, he'll have to run again for a full term in 2012, and the state GOP will have more time to prepare and make their case against him.
Kohl's retirement turns the Wisconsin Senate race into perhaps one of the most interesting in the country. Speculation has swirled that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan may throw his hat into the ring for the Republican side. Liberals are also hoping that recently defeated Sen. Russ Feingold may try another run. The state has been at the center of the political radar lately, after the Democrats' high-profile battle with Republican Gov. Scott Walker over the collective bargaining rights of state employees. [Check out photos of the Wisconsin protests.]
- Vote now: Who is your pick for the 2012 GOP nomination?
- Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the GOP 2012 candidates.
- Follow the money in Congress.
- Get the latest Washington news delivered to your inbox.