Paul Rix appraises the four Democrats vying to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. William Proxmire. He writes that it is "Tony Earl's race to lose," given the former governor's name recognition. Earl, 52, cautions that "I've got to do well all over. We let it slide in 1986," when he was turned out of office by Republican Tommy Thompson. "This time, we've got good organization at the county levels," and he has retained Chicago media consultant David Axelrod. Grocery magnate and philanthropist Herb Kohl, 53, is running ads promising voters he will be "nobody's senator but yours" in an effort to present himself as an outsider buffered from special interests, and confronts the perception - cultivated by his rivals - that he can buy the election with his deep pockets. Ed Garvey, 48, declares he is "campaigning against apathy" and "telling people that there is something to get excited about," but Rix notes "that message is wearing thin." Doug La Follette, 48, "does not measure up," writes Rix, who calls his campaign "hopelessly quixotic." Kohl goes on to win the primary with 47% to Earl's 38% (Garvey polls 10%, La Follette 4%), then defeats Republican Susan Engeleiter for the first of his four terms. Earl is now a retired attorney. His consultant David Axelrod is Barack Obama's chief strategist. Garvey, still a hell-raiser, is editor and publisher of the blog fightingbob.com. La Follette maintains his viselike grip on the office of Wisconsin Secretary of State, a post he has held 29 of the last 33 years.