Today, Russ Feingold (D-WI) gave his farewell speech as a State Department special envoy. Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Feingold thanked his “once, current, and I hope future chief of staff Mary Irvine.” His use of “future” indicates that Feingold plans to holding another office.
Feingold has signaled that he will run run for a rematch against Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in 2016. However, he was limited in the amount of political activity he could do while serving in a diplomatic role. He announced that he would be leaving as Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Great Lakes Region which would allow him to start preparing a Senate run. Feingold has served as Special Envoy since he was appointed by President Obama in 2013.
Democrats see Johnson’s seat in Wisconsin as a top pick-up priority as they look to take back the Senate majority. The 2016 map is much more favorable to Democrats as they play offense rather than defense. In addition, Wisconsin voted for President Obama in both campaigns.