Former Democratic US Senator Russ Feingold says he thoroughly enjoys private life and will not be a candidate for public office next year. That takes him out of the race for the open US Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl and from a possible recall race against Governor Scott Walker.
It’s a blockbuster of an announcement says UW-Madison Political Scientist David Canon. “I’m a little bit surprised. I’m certainly not shocked but I was certain he would run for one of the other.”
Long-time Feingold supporter Joe Wineke isn’t shocked either. “I might have been surprised nine months ago but he did not show any inclination he was getting ready to mount a campaign,” said the former legislator and past chairman of the state Democratic Party.
Many observers believed Feingold would have been the strong Democratic front-runner for the Senate seat to be given up by Herb Kohl next year. With Feingold out of the picture, the speculation is that Madison Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is the front-runner for the Democratic Senate bid – along with La Crosse Congressman Ron Kind.
Feingold’s decision not to run comes two days after former Governor Tommy Thompson named two campaign chairs for a possible Republican Senate bid.
John Colbert-WIBA contributed to this report