Feingold appears uninterested in another Senate campaign

Although an announcement of his decision won’t come until Labor Day, former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold appears to be uninterested in launching another campaign for the Senate.

Feingold, a hero to the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, would likely win a resounding victory in the primary to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl.

A Public Policy Polling survey of Democrats released in late May showed that Feingold would have 70 percent support, while 12 percent would prefer Rep. Tammy Baldwin. Baldwin led the field when Feingold wasn’t included in the poll.

Baldwin, unlike Feingold, hasn’t been shy about sharing her intentions. She told the Capital Times this week that “I think I am likely to run.” Baldwin would be the first openly gay senator if elected.

According to Jerilyn Goodman, Baldwin’s communications director, the congresswoman has spoken with Feingold, who encouraged her not to wait for his decision before launching a bid.

“He told her what he’s told any candidate who has approached him: ‘Go ahead and do what you need to do, because there is a lot of work to do and people can’t wait for his decision to start organizing,'” Goodman told TheDC.

“He’s given that same encouragement to other candidates,” Goodman said, making clear that there was no implicit endorsement.

Rep. Ron Kind, a moderate Wisconsin Democrat, is also “carefully considering” a run for the seat, a spokesman said.

Political scientist Kenneth R. Mayer told TheDC, “I don’t think Feingold is going to run, though the word on the street is that he’s 50-50.” (Feingold raising money to ’shame’ former Democratic colleagues)

Mayer, who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that 2012 isn’t likely to be a good year for Wisconsin Democrats and that Feingold would “be reluctant to go down in history as losing two straight Senate elections.”

Barry C. Burden, also a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that “had Feingold shown interest in the Senate seat, Baldwin would probably not consider it seriously.”

Feingold’s apparent lack of interest in the race “is opening the door for her to pursue it,” Burden said. “The only other candidate who might complicate things is Ron Kind, who represents a different segment of the Democratic Party.”

The Senate election isn’t the only option that’s been floated for Feingold’s political future. Supporters have relished the idea of Feingold leading the charge to oust Republican Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election next year.

Both Burden and Mayer pointed to the August recall election against six state senators as an important barometer that will guide candidates’ political calculations.

A spokesman for Progressives United, the former senator’s political action committee, confirmed that Feingold intends to officially announce his decision on the Senate run around Labor Day.

  • Jack Rail

    Feingold’s too old for the other communists. They don’t know it, those other communists, but their time in office is running out. Under Obama-Pelosi-Reid, America saw for the first time, unfiltered by spin, what the Left has in mind for America. After all these years of giving them the benefit of the doubt, we now know exactly what they plan to do if we let them run things.

    I think that glimpse opened a lot of eyes among the young, the trusting, the naive, the idealistic, even a handful of the stupid.

  • abderecho

    Excellent news! Life is too short to have to deal with to Mr. Feingold’s stunted view of America for another six years. On- ward and upward.

  • SueZQ1965

    Trust me, we here in Wisconsin aren’t interested in Feingold either. We voted him out, we certainly don’t want him back.

    Enjoy your joblessness Russ. WI is doing much better without you.

  • lollytyg

    So who is going to help McCaine write his next amnesty bill with?
    Do they assign a Demwit or does McCaine just pick one?

  • Ryan.Iowa

    If there was ever a politician who the Left could support to run against Obama for the Democrats nomination in 2012, it would be Russ Feingold.

    • abderecho

      For many, that would not be a complement!

  • SunnyJ

    Feingold was ousted by Ron Johnson who is doing a great job for Wisconsin, joining the Cut,Cap & Balance Senators that really understand what is needed to get us out of this financial crisis that Feingold voted to create time after time.

    He was seen supporting the hard core protesters at the Capitol. The ones that dmeonstrated so little respect for the democratic voice of others in Wisconsin that voted for Gov Walker and supported the budget process. Those same progressives that trashed the capitol building, left for IL instead of taking care of WI business, tried to use the courts to steal a SC election (and lost) and are costing WI hundreds of thousands for recalls.

    Meanwhile the Gov’s initiatives are starting to reap rewards and the air is going out of the far left union endorsed drama queens that were sure the death of Wisconsin was next. Guess what? They were wrong. Schools that waited and used the budget tools provided by Walker and the Repubs are finding their schools in better shape with funds to hire teachers. Those that hurried to close deals with unions are not, and are laying off.

    Feingold is a has been and he knows it.

    • designerrant

      Hopefully Wisconsinites will realize the truth and the barometer will not show a slide back into liberal thinking in WI recall elections.