Gay Marriage Champ Russ Feingold Won’t Run for President in ’08

Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, a champion of marriage equality, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over the weekend that he wouldn’t be running for President in 2008. Feingold has been considering a run since 2005, but said that doing so would “dismantle” his professional and personal life.

Feingold_1Said Feingold: “I never got to that point where I’d rather be running around the country, running for president, than being a senator from Wisconsin…It would have required the craziest combination of things in the history of American politics to make it work.”

Feingold has been vocal in both his opposition to a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as well as full marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

Added Feingold, who did not rule out a run in the future: “I began with the feeling I didn’t really want to do this but was open to the possibility that getting around the country would make me want to do it. That never happened. People have always portrayed me as ambitious. I’m not ashamed of that. But I have never had a craving to be president of the United States. I used to say it when I was 5 or 7 years old. But I haven’t really been saying it as an adult.”

Feingold said his first choice for a presidential candidate would be someone he sees eye-to-eye with on Iraq, but stopped short of endorsing anyone: “The first choice would be somebody who voted against this unfortunate Iraq war. That may not be available. Second choice is somebody who at least said it was a bad idea. . . . I would be happy if Obama or (Al) Gore ran.”

Feingold rules out 2008 run for president [milwaukee journal sentinel]

Russ Feingold And Arlen Specter in Heated Exchange [tr]
Feingold Comes Out for Gay Marriage [tr]


  1. hoya86 says

    I heard him speak for the first time at the Pride Agenda dinner and I almost wanted to move to Wisconsin just so I could vote for this guy. Who knows, but he seemed very genuine.

  2. Leland says

    I fear this guarantees that “It’s up to the states” will become the strongest mantra relative to gay marriage, or even civil unions, that will be collectively adopted by whatever Dems end of competing for the nomination. However repugnant I find that morally, and, to me, civil liberties ARE a moral issue, perhaps it is not a bad thing given that nothing more than that has come from the attempts to have anything more.

    As I’ve opined before, I blame that less on our enemies than on our “friends,” NOT straight politicians but those national gay groups who, early on, let our enemies take the battlefield, and have only lost further ground since then.

    The Dem’s success in taking control of Congress clearly depended on the election of some less than gayfriendly candidates, and I fear the most we can hope for is a continued blockage of the Federal Marriage Amendment, and what we can fear is contributing to the loss of one or both houses in the next election if we return to a “all or nothing” strategy, which, in the current climate, is really no strategy at all—just a political suicide note.

  3. Daniel says

    Though I think Feingold is fantastic, I hate that so many of our “friends” have adopted the states’ rights stance on gay rights. Can you imagine if they had left civil rights up to each state back in the 50s and 60s?

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