When Rep. Spencer Black (D-Madison) announced this weekend that he won't be running for reelection this fall, one of the first questions was who would win his seat?
Black, 59, has held the seat since 1984. But two of his Democratic colleagues say there won't be any recruitment needed to fill it.
"I don't think we're going to have to bother with recruitment. My phone and that of everyone I know is ringing off the hook with people interested in running," says Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison). "The good news it's wide open and there's no one anointed that I know of. My goal is frankly, we need more women. We have 22 women in a body of 99 and we have three of them not coming back."
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), agrees: "It's considered a safe seat because it's almost always a Democratic seat."
Pocan expects a very competitive Democratic primary, which "for all purposes will be the election." Both representatives have heard Dane County Supvs. Brett Hulsey and Dianne Hesselbein floated as possible candidates. But Pocan wouldn't be surprised to see a primary with as many as eight candidates.
Any chance a Republican or conservative candidate might try to steal the seat? "Absolutely not," says Berceau. "They'd really be wasting their time. If [a conservative] decides to run, it'd be because they want the name recognition."
Pocan and Berceau say who ever wins will have a huge legacy to fill. "It's a big loss," Pocan says. "Spencer has been such a solid, progressive voice in the legislature, especially for the environment."