Feingold Clinton

Russ Feingold, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate

AMBER ARNOLD -- State Journal

Democrat Russ Feingold has ended his longstanding neutrality in the race for his party’s presidential nomination, endorsing Hillary Clinton by saying she’s ready to beat presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Feingold, in a statement Thursday, said he looks forward to campaigning with Clinton in Wisconsin.

“She won a hard-fought campaign, she made history, and it’s clear that she’s ready to take on Donald Trump this fall and win,” Feingold said.

Earlier this month, Clinton, the former Secretary of State, U.S. senator from New York and first lady, secured enough delegates to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination. It will be finalized at the Democratic National Convention next month in Philadelphia.

Feingold had carefully avoided tipping his hand on whether he backed Clinton or her rival for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders. When pressed by reporters on which candidate he voted for in the April 5 Wisconsin presidential primary, Feingold insisted “I didn’t even tell my wife.”

Feingold, D-Middleton, praised Sanders in the statement Thursday. He said the senator from Vermont “has done incredible work to build a movement behind essential issues for middle-class and working families.”

Feingold becomes the second previously neutral Democratic elected official from Wisconsin to back Clinton in recent days. U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, announced his endorsement last week.

Feingold soon may get his chance to join Clinton on the stump in Wisconsin. Clinton planned to visit Green Bay this month to campaign with President Barack Obama; that event was postponed in the wake of the Orlando, Florida, shooting but is expected to be rescheduled.

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Mark Sommerhauser covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.