Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said Tuesday he will “most likely” run for governor and will make a formal announcement in early 2018.
In an interview with the Cap Times, Soglin said he wanted to see the city budget formalized and adopted in early November and then wait beyond end-of-year holidays to when people are paying more attention to public affairs.
“I’ll have an announcement after the first of the year and it is most likely I will run,” Soglin said.
If he runs, Soglin would join a crowded Democratic primary field against Gov. Scott Walker, the presumed Republican candidate, who will launch his campaign Sunday.
Soglin, 72, has served intermittently as Madison’s mayor since 1973 and was most recently elected in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. His current term ends in 2019.
Other Democratic candidates include state schools superintendent Tony Ever, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, activist Mike McCabe, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma and state Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire, among others.
Soglin has frequently expressed frustration with Walker and what he sees as Republican meddling in city decisions. Based on comments made in June when he first started exploring a run, he is likely to campaign by claiming to be an effective executive who has helped build and sustain the healthy economy in Madison and Dane County.
“I’m just convinced right now that Wisconsin is looking for someone with the experience ... who knows how to build an economy,” Soglin told the Cap Times in June. “I’ve done that.”
He also pointed to two decades of experience in the private sector.
Tuesday’s comment was the strongest indication yet that he intends to enter the race. His decision has been a topic of speculation since late last year.
Soglin said he expects to be asked about the race at a press conference this week, but will go no further in his remarks before early 2018.