Power Centers

Russ Feingold, The Once And Future Senator?

Russ Feingold outside Camp Randall Stadium before a University of Wisconsin football game, Sept. 11, 2010. i i

hide captionRuss Feingold outside Camp Randall Stadium before a University of Wisconsin football game, Sept. 11, 2010.

Morry Gash/A P
Russ Feingold outside Camp Randall Stadium before a University of Wisconsin football game, Sept. 11, 2010.

Russ Feingold outside Camp Randall Stadium before a University of Wisconsin football game, Sept. 11, 2010.

Morry Gash/A P

Try as he might, Wisconsin's Russ Feingold in 2010 couldn't hang on to the Senate seat he occupied for three terms, so strong was that mid-term election wave.

Now, in a reversal of fortune, he may be the Democrats' best hope of holding on to the Senate seat now occupied by Sen. Herb Kohl who has announced his retirement.

Public Policy Polling reports that of all the Democrats mentioned as Kohl's potential successors, Feingold polls the best against potential Republican candidates, especially Tommy Thompson, the state's former two-term governor and Health and Human Services secretary during the George W. Bush administration.

A recent PPP poll gave Feingold a 10-percentage point lead over Thompson. By contrast, Thompson polled slightly better or even with Rep. Tammy Baldwin, ex-Rep. Steve Kagen and Rep. Ron Kind.

Voters apparently weren't punishing Feingold for anything personal when they threw him out of office in favor of businessman and Tea Party favorite Ron Johnson. They were apparently just caught up in the anti-incumbent mood of that moment.

A PPP excerpt:

"Russ Feingold's going to start out as a solid favorite if he wants to go back to the Senate," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. "His loss last year had less to do with him than the national political climate and because of Scott Walker's unpopularity things have shifted back toward the Democrats more quickly in Wisconsin than most other places."

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