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Russ Feingold says he won’t run for office in 2012

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, has told supporters that although he’s still considering seeking an elective office in the future, he will not appear on any 2012 ballots.

Russ Feingold

“This was a difficult decision, as I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure in the State Senate and the U.S. Senate, and I know that progressives are eager to reverse some of the outrageous policies being pursued by corporate interests at both the state and federal levels. I am also well aware that I have a very strong standing in polls should I choose to run again for the U.S. Senate or in a recall election for governor. After 28 continuous years as an elected official, however, I have found the past eight months to be an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective,” wrote Feingold.

The Wisconsinite lost his reelection bid during the 2010 elections, and announced in February that he had formed a grassroots PAC, Progressives United, which is primarily intended to push back against the U.S. Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC.

He has also been teaching law at Marquette University Law School — something he told supporters “was a joy” — and has penned a book that is slated for publishing next February. It traces how the U.S. has “too often lost our way as a nation in responding to the 9/11 attacks and related issues,” and he plans to speak throughout the nation on the topic in 2012.

“The one thing many of us did not anticipate at the outset of this year was the extreme assault on the working families of Wisconsin in particular and the nation as a whole,” he wrote. “I was happy with some of the results of this year’s Wisconsin state senate recall elections, and I was glad to be able to play a small role in supporting all of the Democratic candidates.”

In 2012, he says he’ll work for the reelection of President Barack Obama, but following the actions of Gov. Scott Walker, he says he also understands that “retaking the state governments from these corporate-backed operatives” must be a priority.

“The entire political climate is more infected by the domination of very wealthy individual and corporate interests than perhaps at any time in our nation’s history. That is why I founded Progressives United, an organization devoted not only to overturning the Citizens United decision but to challenging those involved in the political process who, for short-term political gain, are willing to seek and accept unlimited corporate contributions. This practice should be strongly opposed regardless of party and regardless of whether I otherwise support these candidates,” he said.

“In many ways, this is the overriding political struggle of our time. It is more important than whether or when one person runs for office again. That is why, at this time, I am devoting my primary political energy to this cause and this organization.”

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