victoryfortammy_logoRep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the leading Democrat to succeed U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, further solidified that position today when her House colleague, Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., announced he would not challenge her for the seat in 2012.

Should Baldwin win, she would become the first openly LGBT U.S. senator.

Kind told Politico he considered it a “great honor” to represent Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, and decided against a run for the open Senate seat because “a divisive primary contest will not serve the interests of the state or the real needs of families.”

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, which has endorsed Baldwin, said Kind’s announcement was welcome news.  ”It was a gracious thing for him to do, and I think the party will coalesce around Congresswoman Baldwin as their standard-bearer in this race,” said Wolfe.

Baldwin announced her Senate candidacy last week via video message, telling the state’s voters that her highest priority would be to fight for the middle class families across Wisconsin who are struggling in the current economy.

So far the only other declared candidate in the race is conservative Republican Mark Neumann, a former U.S. Representative who most recently lost the 2010 GOP primary for governor.  Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, a Republican, is considering jumping into the race also.

To learn more about Baldwin’s campaign and how you can get involved, visit