Feingold Rules Out 2008 Presidential Run
Russ Feingold has ended speculation about a 2008 presidential bid.
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold has decided against seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, saying he wanted to focus on his work in the Senate.
In a letter posted on his political action committee’s Web site, Feingold said he was excited that Tuesday’s elections gave Democrats control of both chambers of Congress, giving them the chance to “undo much of the damage that one-party rule has done to America.” “We can actually advance progressive solutions to such major issues as guaranteed health care, dependence on oil and our unbalanced trade policies,” he wrote.
Feingold, 53, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he realized he would be a long-shot candidate in a bid for the presidency. He said running as an underdog appealed to him, but not the way it would “dismantle” his work in the Senate and his personal life.
An outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, the Patriot Act and other Bush administration policies, Feingold had formed his PAC, the Progressive Patriots Fund, and visited key presidential primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. Still, he said he started the process more predisposed against a run than for it. “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,” he told the newspaper in a story posted on its Web site late Saturday.
This virtually assures Hillary Clinton will not face a significant challenge from the left should she choose to run. While the 2008 elections are, obviously, a long way off, the truth is that time is running out to start fundraising, given that the primaries are a little more than a year off and are incredibly frontloaded.
Clinton would seem to be the big winner here, since it means she’ll have to work less hard to shore up the base, which will allow her to position herself as more centrist. I suppose Feingold’s departure also makes it easier fo Crazy Al Gore to make a run in his post-recount battle paranoid state.