Feingold's post-State plans: Wisconsin listening tour

AP News
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Posted: Mar 03, 2015 7:41 PM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold is sending signals that he may be considering another run for office, telling his Facebook followers that he plans to travel around Wisconsin extensively to talk about his future after he leaves his State Department post this week.

While Feingold didn't say whether he will try to recapture the U.S. Senate seat he lost in 2010 to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, his Facebook post combined and other recent comments he has made are fueling speculation that he intends to do just that.

Feingold was seeking a fourth Senate term when he lost to Johnson. Democrats anxious for his return to politics had hoped he would run against Republican Gov. Scott Walker both in the 2012 recall and last year, but Feingold declined.

Feingold's decision to leave his special envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa post after 18 months at the State Department this week is fueling speculation that he's interested in running for the Senate again. He stoked the speculation during his farewell speech, when he thanked his assistant, Mary Irvine, whom he described as his "once, current and I hope future chief of staff."

In his Facebook post, Feingold, 62, said he intends to spend portions of the year teaching international relations and law at Stanford University. For most of the rest of this year, he said he will live in his home near Madison and travel the state.

"I will listen carefully to my fellow Wisconsinites talk about their concerns, especially those involving their economic well-being," he said in the post. "I will also seek their counsel on how I can best further serve my country and the state I love."

Joe Fadness, executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party, called Feingold "the consummate political insider."

"His decision to spend time at an elite university in California highlights his skewed priorities and further cements how detached Feingold is from Main Street, Wisconsin," Fadness said in a statement.

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