APPLETON — As the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's convention wrapped up in Appleton this weekend, delegates heard speeches from elected officials and candidates alike.
But one speech, from retiring
U.S . Sen. Herb Kohl, marked the end of an era for the party.
Kohl's final address to Democrats at the party's state convention earned him a rousing, standing ovation.
Kohl has served in the Senate since 1988. His speech signals the end of an era for Democrats, and for the state of Wisconsin's politics.
"Herb Kohl has been my senator my entire life, which is pretty amazing. And Russ Feingold was there most of my life as well. The changing of the guard, I think that's an accurate term,” said Andy Suchorski, chair of the College Democrats of Wisconsin.
Suchorski says the younger generations in the party are mobilizing behind some familiar, and some new, faces in the party who have come forward.
"We're looking at new leaders like Tammy Baldwin, Rob Zerban. There are new leaders coming up. We're excited to work on it,” said Suchorski.
Republicans in the state say the Democrats are at a disadvantage losing their flagship names. Feingold lost his re-election bid to U-S Senator Ron Johnson in 2010.
"Democrats need to put up some public officials on the democratic side that can help republicans unify this state. I think the Democrats definitely need to do some soul searching,” said Ben Sparks, spokesperson for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
But some Democrats who are stepping into national-level races this year say they're not daunted by taking on incumbents
"This isn't about me, this is about the voters in Northeast Wisconsin and what we should expect from our leadership in Washington,” said Jamie Wall, who is running for the 8
th Congressional seat, currently held by Republican Reid Ribble.
Whether the Democrats keep a Senate seat, and win or lose spots in Congress, will be up to voters to decide come November.
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