MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A second longtime Democratic Wisconsin state senator won’t be running for re-election this fall.
Mark Miller, who represents a heavily Democratic Madison-area seat, announced on the Senate floor Tuesday that he won’t seek a fifth term this November. A former fighter pilot, Miller has served in the Senate since 2005 after spending six years in the Assembly. He was the minority leader when Senate Democrats fled to Illinois in 2011 in a vain attempt to block a vote on then-Gov. Scott Walker’s signature law that stripped public workers of their union rights.
Miller told his colleagues Tuesday that a winner-take-all culture has come to dominate political campaigns and government. He suggested legislators schedule committee hearings and votes on any bills with bipartisan sponsors and a nonpartisan process for drawing legislative district boundaries.
Miller , of Monona, is the second Democratic senator to announce his retirement this month. Sen. Dave Hansen, of Green Bay, announced Jan. 9 that he won’t seek re-election. He has served in the Senate since 2001.
Republicans currently control the Senate 19-14. The retirements of Miller and Hansen will create two open seats. Miller’s district covers much of Madison and its eastern suburbs and leans heavily Democratic. The district’s three Assembly representatives, Gary Hebl, Jimmy Anderson and Melissa Sargent, are all Democrats.
Sargent called Miller a “progressive champion” in a statement. She did not say whether she would run for his seat.
Hansen’s district leans conservative. Democrats will face an uphill fight to hold onto it.