Lawton will run for gov if Doyle doesn’tMADISON — Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton said today she will run for governor in 2010 if Gov. Jim Doyle does not to seek a third term.
By: By SCOTT BAUER/Associated Press Writer, The Daily Telegram
MADISON — Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton said today she will run for governor in 2010 if Gov. Jim Doyle does not to seek a third term.
Doyle is undecided on seeking a third term and he has not told her whether he will run again, Lawton told The Associated Press today.
‘‘He’s undecided at this point, and he has the right to take his time to consider something that important,’’ Lawton said.
Doyle has been raising money for a potential third run.
Republican Party executive director Mark Jefferson dismissed Lawton’s comments.
‘‘I think Doyle’s running again, and it’s a moot point,’’ he said.
Doyle campaign finance director Mike Edmondson did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Lawton, 56, unsuccessfully ran for state Senate in 1996 and lieutenant governor in 1998. She won the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in 2002, defeating then-state Sen. Kevin Shibilski. She remained on the ticket for Doyle’s successful re-election bid in 2006.
Lawton has publicly vacillated on whether she wants a third four-year term as lieutenant governor. In a February interview with the WisconsinEye cable network, Lawton said she didn’t plan on seeking a third term but hadn’t fully decided.
Today, Lawton again said she was undecided on that issue but she ‘‘absolutely’’ will run for governor if Doyle doesn’t. She also would not say whether she would challenge Doyle should he run again.
‘‘I’m looking at what I can accomplish in this term, and I want to be able to hold that up with great pride,’’ Lawton said.
But she also said she was in the very early stages of preparing for a possible campaign because if Doyle does not run ‘‘I can’t be caught flat-footed.’’
Through the end of last year, Doyle had raised more than $942,000 for his campaign. Lawton had raised $6,984.53.
Doyle’s campaign’s Web site address recently changed from www.doylelawton.com to www.jimdoyle2010.com. Lawton brushed off the change, which deletes any reference to her.
‘‘Nomenclature means little,’’ she said.
Lawton was the first woman elected lieutenant governor in Wisconsin. No woman has ever served as governor.
Lawton and Doyle publicly split on their endorsements for president, with Doyle backing Barack Obama and Lawton supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton. They campaigned separately for the candidates before Wisconsin’s primary in February.
During her tenure as lieutenant governor, Lawton has focused on promoting women’s issues, the arts and environmental concerns. She recently announced that she will co-chair, with state Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster, a task force on arts and creativity in education.
Lawton has developed a ‘‘Green Economy Agenda’’ that strives to bring government and environmentalists together to create a blueprint for strengthening the economy while protecting the environment.
As chairwoman of the Wisconsin Arts Board, she also worked to help attract the Johnny Depp film ‘‘Public Enemies’’ to Wisconsin with new tax incentives approved by the Legislature.
Arts and cultural organizations play a central role in the state’s economy, said Lawton, who participated in a three-day conference at Robert Redford’s Sundance Preserve last year, discussing the arts’ role in building the work force.
She was born in Milwaukee and lived for more than 30 years in Green Bay, where she was a community activist. She and her husband, Cal, live in Madison.