GOP House Budget Chair Paul Ryan Will Not Seek Wisconsin’s Open Senate Seat

Paul Ryan

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan will not run for Wisconsin’s open Senate seat when Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl retires next year.

The National Journal reports that Ryan began informing friends today of his decision. He plans  to make a formal announcement this afternoon.

Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman and author of a controversial proposal to privatize Medicare, has made it clear in recent days that he believes he can wield more influence from his position in the House.

Former Wisconsin GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson is now widely expected to announce his candidacy for the seat. Thompson, the former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary under George W. Bush, had told GOP officials he planned to run if Ryan passed.

As we have noted, potential Democratic candidates include former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who lost his 2010 re-election bid in last year’s Republican wave, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and U.S. Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Kind.

Check out Business Insider’s forecast for the hottest U.S. Senate races of 2012 >