Feingold not interested in challenging Obama in 2012
December 3rd, 2010
11:19 AM ET
12 years ago

Feingold not interested in challenging Obama in 2012

Washington (CNN) - For anyone hoping that outgoing Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin will mount a Democratic primary challenge to President Barack Obama in 2012, it appears Feingold's not interested.

"Senator Feingold is not running for President in 2012. Any suggestion he is thinking of running, planning to run, or interested in running is untrue. Senator Feingold is a strong supporter of President Barack Obama and wants to see him reelected in 2012," says Feingold Chief of Staff Mary Irvine.

Thursday Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham was the latest to stir the pot by telling conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham that "I like Russ, and he may run against Obama in 2012."

Feingold may be partially responsible for the speculation.

In his concession speech last month, Feingold told supporters "I hope and I intend to continue to work with all of you in the future as much as possible," adding that "it's on to the next fight. It's on to the next battle. It's on to 2012. And it is on to our next adventure – forward!"

Feingold was bidding for a fourth term in the Senate, but lost by five percentage points in the midterm elections to Republican challenger Ron Johnson, a favorite of many Tea Party activists.

The conventional wisdom is that if there were any primary challenge to the president in 2012, it would come from the left, where many progressives have voiced concern over Obama's compromises with congressional Republicans on some issues.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation national poll conducted at the end of October, nearly three out of four Democrats and independents that lean toward the Democrats prefer Obama as their party's 2012 presidential nominee, with 22 percent preferring another Democrat.

But a McClatchy-Marist survey conducted in mid-November indicated that Democrats and independents that lean Democratic were divided on the issue.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Russ Feingold
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. gt

    he cant even win his own state,,,da,,,,

    December 3, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I will like to see Sen. Feingold in a cabinet position. The President needs a strong progressive on his team.

    December 3, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. Average American

    Wisconsin voters will pay dearly for voting in the yahoo who will take Feingold's place.

    December 3, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    "Senator Feingold is not running for President in 2012. Any suggestion he is thinking of running, planning to run, or interested in running is untrue."

    Go figure that the RIGHT started this rumor. They want President Obama to FAIL – which means we FAIL as a country but the RepubliCAN'Ts don't care about that – and they are always STIRRING UP some kind of HATE and LIES!! They need to "go somewhere" with that "Chicken CRAP"!!!

    President Obama will continue to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD and he has many Americans behind him to accomplish that!!

    December 3, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Any suggestion he is thinking of running, planning to run, or interested in running is untrue. Senator Feingold is a strong supporter of President Barack Obama and wants to see him reelected in 2012,"
    Real nice to hear Senator because quite frankly you wouldn't have a chance in hell.

    December 3, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. PalmReader

    Maybe Senator Graham ought to be concentrating more on the problems within his own party rather than attempting to stir up the Democratic political pot. So far it has been Hilliary, Feingold, Dean, and Grayson, with the list of those not running getting bigger and bigger, courtesy of the GOPers inside the beltway scoops. Understand this, GOPers: Democrats aren't as easily distracted with the minutia of lies and innuendo as are most of you seem to be. I'll leave the why's of it all for each of you to decide upon for yourselves.

    December 3, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    Oh come on people! Do you HONESTLY think this country is going to elect another leftist loon, one even further left and far loonier than Obozo??!! Talk about delusional! I guess you dummies really don't get the message from Nov. 2nd. The days of "Progressives" in government are NUMBERED and counting down quickly. Obozo, Reid and Pelosi have opened the country's eyes to the danger you pose. You will be able to get elected dog catcher!!

    December 3, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Jim

    I am hopeful that CNN will devote every resource to tracking Feingold and asking about political aspirations over and over and over and posting here about each and every facebook or twitter update.

    December 3, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Lisa P

    This doesn't surprise me. I like Russ but I don't think he has the skill set to make a good hands-on executive. He's not a schmoozer, he's not a horse trader and he doesn't gravitate toward the limelight. He thinks things through and he sticks to his positions. I could see him joining a public-interest law firm, founding an advocacy group, teaching law (particularly Constitutional law) or becoming a judge - perhaps a Supreme Court Justice if the cards fall right. The Senate has really lost something in losing Russ, but for Russ it's just a chance to move on to bigger things.

    As for the People of Wisconsin, we're now stuck with six years of Senator White Board, the empty-headed accountant. Voters sure are stupid sometimes.

    December 3, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  10. Phil in KC

    Why would anyone think that a guy who loses his Senate seat in a progressive state like Wisconsin could mount a credible challenge to a sitting president. I like Russ; I think he has sponsored a lot of good legislation. But, he could only carry the liberal wing of the part and would likely lose a general election, given the current climate.

    December 3, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think that Feingold would want to be like Ted Kennedy at the Democratic Convention in 1980. That damaged the party which was one of the possible factors leading to the election of Reagan.

    December 3, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |