Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who was viewed as a possible candidate to challenge Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in a recall election, has taken himself out of contention, by saying he won’t run for office in 2012.
In a message to his supporters, Feingold, a Democrat who served in the Senate for 18 years but was unseated last year, said he is enjoying teaching law at Marquette University and is working on a book. Gearing up for a political campaign next year isn’t in the cards.
Democrats are considering trying to organize a recall election against Walker next year, in a move designed to strike back against the governor who signed into law a contentious measure limiting collective bargaining for teachers and most other public workers.
The state recently concluded nine legislative recall elections, which saw Democrats make gains, but not enough to take control of the state Senate. Walker’s supporters say voters in the state don’t have the appetite for any more recalls.
Feingold said that he would work to help President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in the state, at the same time he supports efforts help Wisconsin Democrats challenge Walker’s policies. “Retaking the state government,” he said, from “corporate-backed operatives is a special priority.”
For federal policy-watchers, Feingold’s announcement also means he won’t be running to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated next year by fellow Democrat Herb Kohl’s retirement.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.