Good News For Tammy Baldwin Supporters

BaldwinTammy Russ Feingold told supporters that he will not run for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Herb Kohl.

"While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012," Feingold wrote in an email sent out this morning.

This is great news for voters who support openly gay Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin's potential Senate bid.

As Public Policy Polling reported this week, Feingold's move puts Baldwin at the top of the Democratic ticket in the Badger State: "If Feingold sits it out Tammy Baldwin is looking like the early favorite. In a three way race with Ron Kind and Steve Kagen she leads with 37% to 21% for Kind and 15% for Kagen. And in just a two way race with Kagen she leads 48-19."

So, who thinks Baldwin will — or should — run for Senate?


  1. prophet says

    I’m sure the dems were hoping Feingold would run, but she might have a shot, depending on how risky her candidacy might seem in the eyes of the party powers that be.

  2. K in VA says

    This is the state that threw out Russ Feingold in 2010. This is the state that elected Scott Walker governor in 2010. This is the state that gave Republicans control of both houses of the state legislature in 2010. This is the state that, yes, threw out two Republicans in the recent recall elections, but still kept enough more for the Republicans to retain control of the legislature.

    So, that being all that, is it really possible that a liberal, lesbian, Democrat could win a race for the U.S. Senate? Yeah, she might win her current district in the university-centric Madison area. But elsewhere?

    Don’t get me wrong: I hope she runs. I’ll send her a contribution. But will the unions back her? Will cops and firefighters who worked so hard in recent protests vote for a lesbian? Will blue-collar types in the Milwaukee area vote for her?

    Maybe. Maybe this country is changing enough that an out lesbian and an out liberal can get elected to the U.S. Senate in what has become, at best, a red-tinged purple state. I have to say I’m skeptical. But we shall see …

  3. Brian says

    I’d love to see Tammy run and win, too. But, the same PPP poll also showed her losing a general election race to former Gov. Tommy Thompson by eight points.

    Getting the Democratic nomination would be nice. That’s not the same as getting a seat in the Senate.

  4. Jeffrey in St. Louis says

    If Ms. Baldwin runs for Senate (and I sincerely hope she does run and wins), would Mr. Feingold consider a run at the presidency in 2016?

  5. Patric says

    Agree with K in Va’s concerns except that I have no doubt that Rep. Baldwin would receive solid backing from the unions in a general election (how committed all of the rank-and-file union members would be may be a different question).

    Agree with Brian that this is really incomplete reporting in that the post makes no mention of the poll’s general election numbers, released a day later than the first set of numbers. I would love to a Sen. Baldwin but I think we should be prepared for a very tough struggle in this race next year.

  6. Denis says

    Of course the race will be tough, but Public Policy Polling said their latest poll combined with earlier polls shows the race is essentially a tossup. The fact that it’s a tossup now and Thompson has much, much higher name recognition than Tammy is really remarkable. If the labor, women’s, progressive and LGBT communities rally around her and help her raise the money she’ll need to compete, she absolutely can win…and make history.

  7. Ross says

    K in VA, Brian and Patric are spot-on. Even if she’s challenged by the more-centrist Kind* and/or Kagen, Tammy will win the nomination. From an electability standpoint, this is not good for Dems since a progressive/Liberal simply cannot win in a Wisconsin general election. Thus another Dem seat will be lost. Sexuality certainly won’t play a role in a potential primary and I’m guardedly optimistic that because the country is facing such serious issues, Wisconsin voters will scorn attempts (however vague/masked) to bring it up. (*Kind said in June that he’d announce Yes or No after the last recall elections, which took place this past Tuesday.)

  8. alguien says

    i’ll bet feingold’s holding out to run in the scott walkler recall.

    i think he’d be a good governor for WI and i think he’d trounce walker in the election as well.

  9. Paul says

    Russ Feingold is one of the best senators this country has ever had. I love Tammy Baldwin, and hope she wins, but his decision not to run means that a sorely-needed voice will continue to be missing from Washington.

    I’d love to see him as Pres, VP, Atty General, or Justice in the near future!

  10. Troy says

    This is bad news. Feingold was probably the only person who could keep the Wisconsin Senate seat for the Democrats. Someone should tell him he needs to run.

  11. says

    @alguien Feingold announced that he wouldn’t be a candidate for any office in 2012, including an unlikely recall election for governor. Why unlikely? See Halloran, Liz, “Recall Efforts In Wisconsin Face Tough Odds”,, March 8, 2011.

  12. Ken says

    “progressive/Liberal simply cannot win in a Wisconsin general election”
    I don’t buy this. Feingold was as libreal as they get and won here up until 2010 which was a GOP wave election. Next year will be more favorable to the Democrats than 2010. Also Wisconsin has a very unpopular Republican Governor and legislature which will hurt their nominee. I think Baldwin has a good shot at this. A more moderate candidate may have a better shot, but I like the Dems chances here either way.

  13. Rob says

    She needs to run, and we need to get behind her.

    Gays are popping up in politics all over. Who would have thought that Houston would have an out lesbian mayor? We are seen as people who have to be good at what we do.

  14. Pecious N. Phew says

    She would win. Wisconsin is and shall remain a “Blue” state. Baldwin isnt new…the people know her as she’s held public office for a long time.

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