Will Russ run?

With Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl’s announcement that he won’t seek reelection in 2012, there’s been no shortage of speculation about who will run for the seat Sen. Kohl currently holds. Names like Rep. Ron Kind and Rep. Tammy Baldwin have been thrown out as possible Democratic contenders for Kohl’s seat, along with former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold.

According to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feingold is considering a run for the seat in 2012, saying he’ll make a decision by Labor Day on whether he’ll run or not.

“I am looking at it, but I feel I should take some time to think this through,” said Feingold, the former senator who was defeated last fall for re-election after three terms. “For me the question right now is whether it’s a good idea for me to go back into this sort of life.”

While I’d certainly welcome a run by Russ Feingold, who despite his loss in 2010 would be a formidable candidate in 2012, I’m betting Feingold will decline to run, giving Rep. Tammy Baldwin an opportunity to become Wisconsin’s first female U.S. Senator and Wisconsin’s first openly homosexual U.S. Senator.


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8 thoughts on “Will Russ run?

  1. I worry about Tammy’s candidacy. I just worry that it will be too easy to paint her as some sort of Dane County loon and I don’t think she has enough goodwill built up statewide to overcome that. Presumably it would come down to Obama’s momentum in the state more than the strength of the individual candidate, which isn’t really the case with Russ.

  2. This summer’s recall elections will be a good litmus test for the viability of a recall of Scott Walker in early 2013. My guess is, if the Dems pick up two or three Senate seats this summer, Russ Feingold will decide to run for governor instead.

    As for Tammy Baldwin, while I love her dearly, I don’t think she has a chance of winning a statewide election. Her biggest handicap is the perception that she has not accomplished anything in all of her years in Congress (no legislation with her name on it). I think Lena Taylor may be tempted to run for Herb Kohl’s seat, and we could see the same sort of Madison v. Milwaukee Democratic primary that carried Herb Kohl past Tony Earl in 1988.

    1. I don’t know that Lena Taylor would be a viable statewide candidate, especially given her poor performance against Scott Walker in the Milwaukee County Executive race in 2008. That was a horrible campaign.

      1. Just because she wouldn’t be a viable statewide candidate doesn’t mean she won’t be tempted to run. A lot has changed since 2008. She got a great deal of attention (and love from UW-Madison students) during the Capitol protests in February, as well as nationwide press during the Illinois exile.

  3. Recent polling indicates Tammy would be competitive statewide:

    In fact she only trails Thompson by one point and Kind does not do much better (tying with Tommy). In fact, in the secondary primary poll, http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2011/05/feingold-baldwin-dem-choices-in.html, Tammy would be the second favorite behind Feingold and actually has support across the Democratic party from both moderates and liberals.

    So yes it is one poll, but it nevertheless indicates that Tammy would have more than a chance statewide. Until further polling comes out that disputes this, I do not think we should count Tammy out.

    Is Lena Taylor even considering running for Senate? If her performance in the 08 MKE County Exec election is any indication, than she is even less electable than Tammy.

    If Feingold wants to run he will have the nomination. If he does not, it will likely be Baldwin or Kind, with Baldwin as the slight favorite.

  4. Got the sense after the last election Russ was far from ready to quit electoral politics, but get the sense now that he’s enjoying life (and his ability to still influence the debate), so inclined to believe he’s leaning against running.

    1. Yep, for these reasons he is not running no matter how much the left wing of the party want him to run.

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