(CNN) - Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold will not run for public office in 2012, he announced Friday on the website of his political action committee.
The former Democratic Sen. from Wisconsin, who lost his re-election bid in 2010, left the door open to a run in the future, but said he has enjoyed his time away from elected office and will not run for Senate or governor.
"Political figures often cite wanting to spend time with their loved ones as a reason for not seeking public office when they haven't a prayer of winning anyway. In my case, I don't need an excuse and will simply say that the time with family, friends, and loved ones in the past few months have been among the best in my life, and I am not eager to give that up," Feingold said in the statement.
Four-term Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl decided against running for re-election in May, leaving an open seat in the Badger State.
Although Feingold no longer holds an official office, he said he intends to fight for progressive causes, including on behalf of Progressives United, an organization he founded devoted to overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allows outside groups to accept unlimited corporate contributions.
Campaign finance was a hallmark issue for the former state legislator during his time in Washington. He cosponsored the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, known as the McCain-Feingold Act, a major piece of campaign finance reform legislation in 2002.
"In many ways, this is the overriding political struggle of our time," Feingold said. "It is more important than whether or when one person runs for office again."
Feingold served two terms in Washington before losing his close election in November to businessman and tea party backed-Ron Johnson. Since then Feingold said he has worked on his book, "While America Sleeps," set for publication next February while teaching law at Marquette University and channeling his energy toward Progressives United.
He was a loud voice against Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin throughout the state battle over collective bargaining rights that shut down the state legislature earlier this year. And Feingold reaffirmed his opposition to Walker in his announcement.
"When I said on election night last year that it 'was on to 2012,' I meant it. As I said those words I was especially thinking of the need to re-elect President Obama," Feingold said. "But since the aggressive tactics of Governor Walker and the legislature ensued, those words now also mean retaking the state government from those corporate-backed operatives is a special priority."
Your time has come and gone Feingold. Glad to hear you're remaining out to pasture where you belong. Neither Wisconsin nor this country needs another spending crazy "progressive" like you in Congress
" In my case, I don't need an excuse and will simply say that the time with family, friends, and loved ones in the past few months have been among the best in my life, and I am not eager to give that up."
For the first time in his recent memory, the man is waking up without headaches and ulcers.
Are the conservatives playing you like a Violin? I look at the CNN political pages and all I see is Gov. Perry and MichelleB. Am I the only one that thinks all this attention paid to the extreems of the right are actually a ploy to make Mr. Romney out to be perceived as a moderate? This isn't going to be another 2008 Clinton/Obama primary season. I don't know about anyone else but I want to know more about the candidate that is actually going to be on the ticket in the 2012 elections and Mr Romney is no moderate.
Sorry to hear this Russ; we need you!
The Dems will be lucky to win any offices in 2012, anyway. The Obama administration is the worst government since Jimmy Carter, which was the previous worst , since the Great Depression.
We have to have, fiscal responsibility, in 2012.
Don't worry, we'll find someone else. By next January a Holstein cow with no political experience and who's not even old enough to vote could win against Scott Walker - month by month he only looks worse and worse. Sadly our state is looking pretty bad right along with him.
In a way I'm a little relieved that Russ has decided not to run. While I agree whole-heartedly with his politics, in temperament he's a lot like our current unfortunate Governor - not much one for compromise. And that's what we need in this state: a pragmatist who can bring both sides together (or at least anyone on either side who's willing to come together) to get things done that improve the state for *everybody*. I would rather have Russ out there advocating for what he believes in than being forced to make the kind of deals that Obama has in order to save our country from self-centered partisan ideologues, greedheads and anarchists (you know who you are!). Whoever becomes our new Governor in 2012, I'll want Russ to hold his or her feet to the fire.
It is a real shame. Feingold was one of just a handful of Senators NOT bought by special interests. No righties...do not tell me Unions are special interests, they represent the working class.
"Rick Perry's an idiot, and I don't think anyone would disagree with that,"
Um, I disagree.
Lol, funny that "an idiot" can so outperform "a genius" economically. The old Bush guard really has it in for Perry. However, since everyone pretty much hates the old Bush guard, I don;t see how this does anything but help Perry.
do not tell me Unions are special interests, they represent the working class.
Unions represent less than 15% of American workers and that number is declining swiftly. If you excluded all the government union members, it would be far less. Unions only lookout for unions and are one of the WORSE special interest groups. With them it is all about how much can they get, no matter what the consequences to the business or the taxpayer. You need to get your head out of the sand if you think they aren't a special interest group. Makes me wonder what other delusions you suffer from.