Former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said in a speech Wednesday to a Wisconsin interfaith group that he would not have fared any better against Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election than Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
“I wouldn’t have won either,” he said to gasps from the audience, according to the Isthmus Daily Page.
Liberal groups had urged Feingold to run but he demurred. His decision set up a nasty primary fight for the Democratic nomination between labor-backed Kathleen Falk and Barrett, who had the establishment Democrats’ backing.
Barrett prevailed in the primary but lost the recall, 53-46. Some observers believe the primary hurt Barrett’s ability to rally the Walker opposition.
Feingold said it wouldn’t have made any difference if he had run instead.
“That election, unfortunately, was about one thing. It wasn’t even about money,” Feingold said. “[Voters] didn’t think a recall was appropriate. [People] weren’t against collective bargaining, it’s just the recall mechanism was the problem.”