Even though the next presidential election will not occur for more than three years, U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is exploring the possibility of running for higher office in 2004.
“I am much more likely to run for the U.S. Senate again in 2004,” Feingold said. ” I am being urged, though, to run for president.”
Feingold is considering running because of his concern for a multitude of policies.
“I’m worried sick about what’s going to happen with Supreme Court nominations, social policy, foreign policy, trade policy, the environment if we get eight years of Bush,” Feingold told The Capital Times.
Feingold, a 48-year-old Janesville native, is serving his second term as a U.S. Senator. He is known nationally for his work with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the McCain-Feingold campaign reform bill.
Feingold said some of his closest friends and advisors, along with others across the nation, are supporting him. It is only encouragement, however, not overwhelming support.
“I don’t expect support from across the nation on this. I have just been encouraged by those close to me,” Feingold said.
Though he is only considering the possibility of running for the White House in 2004, support exists for the Wisconsin Democrat.
Feingold said student support for him across the nation is “very good.” The senator is making a tour of colleges later this year, starting Nov. 11 at University of Michigan, and possibly including such universities as Iowa, North Carolina and Texas.
Feingold has not received an invitation to visit UW-Madison, but if the invitation were extended, he said he would jump at the chance.
Feingold approaches the collegiate masses with the main question, “Why can’t we have a real Democratic Party with a real Democratic candidate for president in 2004?”
Students are not the only ones to support Feingold. He has support in many areas. Bill Dixon, a veteran Democratic strategist, praised Feingold in an interview with The Capital Times.
“Feingold has the combination of youth, integrity, a record of taking on the special interests, a record of oppositions to the corruption of our politics by special interests,” Dixon said. “That is the right message for a Democrat who wants to challenge Bush.”
State Sen. Spencer Black, D-Madison, said Feingold is an attractive candidate and commended his understanding of the devastating role that money plays in politics.
“It makes sense for him to test the water,” Black said. “He has made a name for himself with the McCain-Feingold bill.”
Feingold told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel what the party would need to take back the White House in 2004.
“I want to be a part of trying to figure out what kind of approach we’re going to take to getting the White House back in four years,” Feingold said. “I want it to be based on my party talking about a more progressive agenda. We’re going to need young people, we’re going to need some of those people who were looking at Ralph Nader, and we’re going to need some excitement.”