Russ Feingold will not run for Senate or Wisconsin governor

(JTA) — Former senator Russ Feingold has taken himself out of contention for both a Wisconsin Senate seat and a run for governor.

In an email to supporters Friday morning, Feingold explained that he wanted to devote himself to teaching at Marquette Law School, where has been working since leaving the Senate; finishing a book he is authoring, and leading his political committee.

"While I may seek elective office again someday, I have decided not to run for public office during 2012," Feingold said in the email.

The move is a blow to Democrats. Polls had shown Feingold, who lost his Senate seat in 2010, to be a favorite against potential Republican candidates in the 2012 race to fill the seat now occupied by retiring Senator Herb Kohl, a fellow Jewish Democrat.

With Kohl’s retirement, and Feingold declining to run, Wisconsin may lack a Jewish senator for the first time since 1989.

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