Wisconsin Pro-Abortion Sen. Russ Feingold Won’t Run in 2012

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 19, 2011   |   1:52PM   |   Madison, WI

Russ Feingold, the long-time pro-abortion Wisconsin senator who lost in the 2010 elections to pro-life Sen. Ron Johnson, will not run in 2012.

“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,” the senator said.

However, Feingold’s decision does pave the way for another pro-abortion activist to run next year:  pro-abortion Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin. She is expected to announce her candidacy soon for the Senate and plans to make a final determination in the next month.

John McCormack, writing at the conservative Weekly Standard, says Feingold’s decision also has a positive repercussion in that it makes a recall campaign against pro-life Gov. Scott Walker more difficult.

“A potential recall campaign against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker looks much more hopeless this morning,” he writes. “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,” McCormack noted. “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.”

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air also comments on the decision in a new blog post.

“In order to mount a realistic run for Kohl’s seat in 2012, Feingold would have to start fundraising very soon, if not immediately.  Democrats already have a candidate for that race in Rep. Tammy Baldwin, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether Wisconsin will elect hard-core progressives from Madison to statewide office any longer. It doesn’t appear they will, not from the voting patterns of the recall races in the state Senate and the Prosser-Kloppenburg vote, and the unions are going to have a lot less money to blow in future elections after the PEU reform law’s passage,” he says.

“The race for governor won’t take place until 2014, which means that Feingold has a couple of years in which to change his mind.  However, having been beaten in a statewide run by a political novice doesn’t exactly build confidence in Feingold as a man who can take on Walker, especially if four years of conservative leadership cuts spending and brings the public sector under control.  It’s safe to say, though, that this is good news for Walker and bad news for Wisconsin Democrats if Feingold stays retired,” Morrissey continued.

Given that pro-life Republicans were successful in stopping some of the pro-abortion Democrats challenging in recall campaigns for the state legislature, Wisconsin is poised for more pro-life gains.