Roadblock Cleared: Feingold Says He Won't Run, So Will Baldwin?
With former U.S. senator Russ Feingold's announcement today that he won't run for an open seat in Wisconsin, the way has been cleared for lesbian congresswoman Tammy Baldwin to launch a campaign.
Baldwin had waited on the conclusion of her state's recall elections earlier this month and then on a decision from Feingold, who led all polls, before making her own announcement.
Feingold held the door open for a future run for office but said it wasn't for him, this time.
"While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012," he wrote in a statement on the website for Progressives United, a group he formed after losing reelection in 2010. "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."
The latest numbers from Public Policy Polling show Baldwin losing ground to potential GOP front-runner Tommy Thompson, the former four-term governor and Bush secretary of Health and Human Services. In a poll released Thursday, Thompson had an eight-point lead over Baldwin. That means he'd picked up momentum since the last poll in May, when he boasted only a one-point distance.
Thompson would be a formidable candidate with name recognition from a career of service, but he hasn't won elected office since 1998. His last campaign was for president of the United States.
Baldwin's fund-raising certainly shows signs of ambitions for higher office. She reported raising $502,000 in the second quarter of the year and had $1.1 million in cash on hand.