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Feingold not running for Senate in Wisconsin, creates opening for Baldwin

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A lot of people have been waiting to see whether Russ Feingold will run for Senate in Wisconsin. He's not.

That creates an opening for Tammy Baldwin. From The Advocate:

With former U.S. senator Russ Feingold's announcement today that he won't run for an open seat in Wisconsin, the way has been cleared for lesbian congresswoman Tammy Baldwin to launch a campaign.

Baldwin had waited on the conclusion of her state's recall elections earlier this month and then on a decision from Feingold, who led all polls, before making her own announcement.
The Advocate also cites the PPP's Wisconsin poll, released yesterday,, which I also posted at AMERICAblog. It showed Feingold was the strongest candidate:
The Wisconsin Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl is looking like a genuine Republican pick up opportunity, with both Tommy Thompson and Mark Neumann leading all the potential Democratic candidates we tested besides Russ Feingold.

Feingold, who doesn't seem terribly interested in running, would still be the strongest potential candidate. He has the best favorability rating of anyone we looked at both overall (49/43) and specifically with independents (52/37). He would have the slightest advantage over Thompson, 48-47, and a more healthy one over Neumann at 51-44. Feingold led them by 10 and 12 points respectively when PPP first looked at this race in May so there's been a good amount of movement toward the Republicans since that time.

Voters in the state are pretty evenly divided in their feelings about Thompson with 44% rating him favorably and 42% unfavorably. He would start out with decent sized leads over all the Democratic candidates not named Russ Feingold- 7 points over Ron Kind at 48-41, 8 over Tammy Baldwin at 50-42, and 8 over Steve Kagen at 49-41. Thompson was tied with Kind, led Baldwin by only 1, and had just a 3 point advantage over Kagen the last time we polled so again these numbers show momentum in the GOP's direction.
LGBT political organizations are lining up to support Baldwin, who could be the first openly gay Senator. "Openly gay" being the operative words.

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