FILE - WI Sen. Scott Fitzgerald announces candidacy

Wisconsin Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announces his candidacy for Congress at a community center on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Oconomowoc, Wis.

The speculation over Scott Fitzgerald's future is over.

Fitzgerald, who is the leader in the Wisconsin Senate, announced Tuesday on News Talk 1130 WISN that he is running for Congress next year. 

"I've been watching and waiting for Congressman [Jim] Sensenbrenner to see when he would think retirement is a good option for him," Fitzgerald told WISN's Jay Weber. "So as soon as I heard the news [that he is retiring], I reached out to my wife and family members and supporters and started calling around. It didn't take long for me to say I'm in this 100 percent."

Sensenbrenner surprised most of Wisconsin this month when he announced his retirement.

"You're never going to replace Jim Sensenbrenner," Fitzgerald said, though he thinks someone can carry on the conservative work that Sensenbrenner started in Washington.

That's exactly what Fitzgerald is hoping to do. 

"I've driven a lot of conservative policy over the past 25 years, including 12 years as Majority Leader," Fitzgerald explained. "I'd love the opportunity to be able to go out to Washington and make that same type of impact."

Fitzgerald is the first official candidate in the race for the state's Fifth District. He could face state Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, or former Gov. Scott Walker's son, Matt. 

Many of the other Republicans who were thought to be possible candidates have declined to a run. That list includes former candidate for U.S. Senate Leah Vukmir and Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow. 

Fitzgerald will be in the middle of his latest term in the Wisconsin Senate when voters choose a candidate in the race for Congress next year. That means if he were to lose either in the Republican primary or the general election, he could still keep his seat and leadership post in Madison. 

Staff Reporter

An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.