Russ Feingold on Friday told supporters
that he would not run for the U.S. Senate in 2012, increasing the
likelihood that Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin will jump into the race.
“While I may seek elective office
again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during
2012,” Feingold wrote in an email to supporters.
Feingold, who served in the U.S. Senate
for 7 years, also brushed aside appeals for him to consider a run to
replace Republican Governor Scott Walker.
“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,” he wrote.
“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 decision increases the likelihood
that Baldwin will enter the race to succeed Wisconsin Senator Herb
Kohl, who announced in May he would not seek a fifth term in 2012.
Baldwin is among the four openly gay
lawmakers serving in the House. Also gay are David
Cicilline of Rhode Island, Barney Frank of Massachusetts and
Jared Polis of Colorado.
The 49-year-old Baldwin was first
elected to represent the people of Wisconsin's 2nd
congressional district in 1999. For 8 years prior she served in the
blog Towleroad.com notes that a recent Public
Policy Polling survey found Baldwin with a strong showing behind
If elected, Baldwin would become the
nation's first openly gay senator.