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Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) said Thursday that he will decide whether to enter Wisconsin’s Senate contest by Labor Day.
The timing of the decision and the nature of his remarks, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, suggest that Feingold is less than enthusiastic about entering another statewide race just months after losing his Senate seat last fall.
“I am looking at it, but I feel I should take some time to think this through,” said Feingold, who served in the Senate for three terms. “For me the question right now is whether it’s a good idea for me to go back into this sort of life.”
He described his break from politics as “a healthy one for me to be doing something different at this point in my life.”
Feingold’s decision puts him well behind the expected timeline of other candidates.
Potential Democratic candidates — Reps. Tammy Baldwin, Ron Kind and former Rep. Steve Kagen, among them — are expected to announce their decisions at or around the time of the state Democratic convention in Milwaukee this weekend.
And Feingold acknowledged that he hasn’t ruled out a gubernatorial run as well. Gov. Scott Walker (R), elected just last fall, is facing the prospect of a recall election in 2012.
“I’m not down to the level of which office or when, but I realize I have to come to grips with whether I would be a candidate for Senate in 2012 in the reasonably near future,” Feingold told the Journal Sentinel.
He said he must first decide whether he wants to be a candidate again when “not being in office has certain appeals to it.”
That’s hardly an encouraging assessment from a man who was the most popular Democrat statewide in a recent survey by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, which showed Feingold leading a crowded field of Democrats and Republicans.