Russ Feingold has yet to say a word, publicly, about the possibility of a rematch with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. But Republicans aren't wasting any time in launching attacks against the Democratic former senator.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent a press release on Tuesday calling attention to Feingold's role in passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enacted six years ago today.
"With Russ Feingold plotting his return to power, it’s worth remembering that when he voted for the failed $830 billion stimulus he claimed spending programs would balance our budget," the release reads.
Feingold served in the Senate from 1993 to 2011, after being ousted by Johnson in the GOP wave of 2010. Since 2013, he has served as a special envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Many progressive activists hoped he would run against Gov. Scott Walker in the 2012 recall, though Feingold later said he wouldn't have won even if he had run.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Jon Tester told The Hill earlier this month that he's spoken with Feingold about running against Johnson, who has been ranked as the "most vulnerable senator" up for re-election in 2016.
"The conversation (with Feingold) was ‘It's a new day now.’ In 2010, Citizens United started about two-thirds of the way through on that race, I believe it was in June on a November election. It's a different world now. And he knows that, he's smart. He's a Rhodes Scholar, for chrissakes. And he knows what he's getting into," Tester told The Hill. "Russ is a good guy and if Russ chooses to (run) he'd be a formidable candidate. I think he learned from the last election. You learn a lot more from defeat than you learn from victory and he'll utilize that if he gets into this race."
The NRSC took a dig at Feingold's Rhodes Scholar status in its release.
"It doesn’t take a math degree to figure out that Russ Feingold is being dishonest when he said spending initiatives like the $830 billion stimulus would balance our budget," NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said in a statement. "Before this Rhodes Scholar re-enters the ring it wouldn’t hurt Feingold to learn that more spending equals more debt."