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Russ Feingold Won't Run for Office in 2012

7:57 AM, Aug 19, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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A potential recall campaign against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker looks much more hopeless this morning. reports:

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold announced this morning he will not be a candidate in 2012, telling supporters he will instead focus on teaching, writing a book and leading his Progressives United PAC. [...]

With Feingold out of the race, it is expected U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, will soon announce her candidacy for the Senate. She has said she wanted to make a decision this month. 

Unless Scott Walker's polling numbers take a nosedive, any attempt by Democrats to take him out in a recall election in 2012 will likely fail. But Democrats have promised a recall campaign, and there will be considerable pressure among the grassroots labor and liberal activists to follow through.

Feingold's decision to sit on the sidelines in 2012 is also a blow to Senate Democrats who had hoped Feingold might try to fill the seat of retiring senator Herb Kohl in 2012. Former Republican governor Tommy Thompson trailed Feingold by 1 point in a poll released by Public Policy Polling yesterday but has leads over other potential Democratic candidates: 

7 points over Ron Kind at 48-41, 8 over Tammy Baldwin at 50-42, and 8 over Steve Kagen at 49-41. 

Of course, Thompson is under 50 percent in match-ups against two of those candidates and vulnerable to a Republican primary challenge. So Herb Kohl's seat is very much up for grabs.

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