Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold

Today former Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, who lost his seat in 2010 to Ron Johnson, told supporters he will not run for office in 2012. From Russ Feingold’s announcement:

I am grateful for the friendship and support of so many fellow Wisconsinites who suggested I consider running for statewide office in the coming months. While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012.

This was a difficult decision, as I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure in both the State Senate and the U.S. Senate, and I know that progressives are eager to reverse some of the outrageous policies being pursued by corporate interests at both the state and federal levels. I am also well aware that I have a very strong standing in the polls should I choose to run again for the U.S. Senate or in a recall election for governor. After twenty-eight continuous years as an elected official, however, I have found the past eight months to be an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective.

Feingold’s decision not to run in 2012 is a real setback for Wisconsin Democrats. Despite losing in 2010, Feingold still has a net positive favorability rating among his state’s voters. Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that Feingold polled the best of the potential Senate candidates and that Feingold was the only candidate with a strong lead over Governor Scott Walker in a possible recall.

This decision could be good news for Gov. Walker. Without a strong challenger like Feingold willing to run in a recall election, it could cause forces opposed to Walker to decide it may not be worth going through the difficult and expensive task for running a recall effort.