MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Former Wisconsin congressman Mark Neumann, a Republican, announced on Monday that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in 2012 by retiring Democrat Herb Kohl.
Neumann had lost a Republican gubernatorial primary last year against Scott Walker.
Neumann made his announcement on the Charlie Sykes' show on Milwaukee's WTMJ-AM (620), saying he thinks the American people have changed in the past year, and recognize it's time for a balanced budget.
"I think they are looking for someone who can bring a vision of hope for this country...," Neumann said. "That includes a balanced budget, job creation, and I think we can do that."
The seat is expected to be hotly contested, although former Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold announced earlier this month he would not be a candidate for political office next year, taking him out of the running for Kohl's seat and a possible run against Walker if Democrats force a recall.
Neumann, a homebuilder, had unsuccessfully run against Feingold for senate in 1998.
On the Democratic side, a possible contender for the seat is U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin.
Kohl, a four-term senator, announced his retirement in May.
(Reporting by John Rondy; Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Jerry Norton)