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Russ Feingold just says no to WI Dems hopes

Russ Feingold just says no to WI Dems hopes

The great hope for Wisconsin Democrats has been that former Senator Russ Feingold would run in a recall election next year against Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  Since Democrats are likely to get enough signatures to force a recall, Democrats also will need a strong candidate to run against Walker, and Feingold was at the top of their list.

Democrats Plan B for Feingold was to have Feingold run for Senate, since Herb Kohl is retiring.

But as reported by JSOnline, Feingold just said no to both scenarios:

Democrat Russ Feingold has decided he will not be a candidate for political office next year, taking himself out of the running in 2012 for either U.S. senator or for governor in the event Democrats force a recall election against Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

In an email going out to supporters early Friday morning, Feingold called it a difficult decision but said he wanted to devote his time to teaching full time at Marquette Law School, finishing the book he is writing on the U.S. response to the Sept. 11 attacks and leading the political committee he founded, Progressives United.

“While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012,” Feingold said in the email.

This is a very big blow to Democats’ hopes either of unseating Walker or keeping the Senate seat in Democratic hands.

Democrats and national unions poured everything they had into the Prosser-Kloppenburg and recall elections, and came up short.  Now they have been left on the dance floor by their biggest star.

2011 was a year Wisconsin Democrats hoped to put behind them, but now 2012 isn’t looking much better.


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These people never give up. They keep pressing on until they get what they want, no matter the cost to the nation. That is the big difference between them and us. We respect the electoral outcome and don’t seek to overset it even though it was obtained by fraud. I want us to fight back hard when the election is won fraudulently, but the cost to the nation? That makes the fight not worth it. They destroy because they want power at all costs; we yield, deeming a unified country better than temporary political power. That teaches them to keep fighting until they win.

“While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012,” Feingold said in the email.

I would guess that even Russ “It’s not over until we win” Feingold has been reading the TEA leaves and recognizes that 2012 will not be a good year to be running as a Democrat. Especially one with a record favoring tax-and-spend policies.

    Concur. Feingold is a true-believer, and still well liked, but even he can read the signs that 2012 is going to be another shellacking for Democrat candidates, and losing two major elections in a row is the kiss of death for a candidate, no matter how well liked you are or what your prior reputation is. You get labelled as a loser, and then it becomes impossible to fund raise. It makes much more sense for Feingold to sit 2012 out and see what the political winds bring for 2014 or 2016, while building his PAC.

A good decision by Russ Feingold that benefits both Feingold and the taxpayers of Wisconsin. Tommy Thompson is making noise about running for Herb Kohl’s soon to be vacant seat, so I wonder who the Dems will prop up to run now that Feingold has wisely found other matters to occupy his time. New and exciting times here in Wisconsin!

bob aka either orr | August 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

Professor, does this mean that Feingold will not primary Obama, too? It looks that way to me. More’s the pity on that front.

[…] Feingold says no…twice.  […]

[…] at Memeorandum. Ed Morrissey thinks it’s just too close to the 2012 election, time-wise. Bill Jacobson thinks Democrats will get the signatures to recall Walker, which makes Feingold’s decision […]

It should get easier from here on out in WI. Remember, when IN stopped forcibly collecting union dues out of paychecks union dues dropped by over 90%. WI is already showing signs of a similar drop. WEAC just announced the elimination of about 40% of their staff. Seems teachers up there aren’t voluntarily paying dues, despite the ‘home visits’ of union thugs to ‘encourage’ them to do so.

Since the union leadership will 1) continue to pay themselves outrageous salaries and benefits 2) must do some actual, you know, union work to justify their existence before 3) paying their lobbyists and finally 4) donating to Democrats one thing is certain: whatever the % decline in union dues is, the % decline in political contributions will certainly be higher.

Without the massive financial and GOTV efforts of public sector unions, how long can the Democratic Party survive?