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Russ Feingold Endorses Tammy Baldwin In 2012 Senate Race

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WASHINGTON -- Former senator Russ Feingold is giving a boost to Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) in her run for U.S. Senate on Wednesday, encouraging progressives to donate to her to fight back against "Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and big corporations."

Feingold will be making his endorsement in an email to Baldwin's supporters on Wednesday. In the message, he cites her fights in Congress for the middle class and opposition to involvement in Iraq.

"I know Tammy has the values, the vision, and the guts to be a force the middle class in the U.S. Senate," he writes. "We stood together against going to war in Iraq. And nearly 10 years before the financial collapse, we fought the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act."

"These commonsense rules of the road prevented Wall Street and the big banks from making risky investments, and the end of those safeguards led to our economic crisis. Tammy has always put what is right for working Wisconsin families ahead of powerful special interests in Washington."

In a statement to The Huffington Post, Baldwin said she was "honored to have the support of Russ Feingold, a progressive champion who always puts Wisconsin's working and middle class families first."

Baldwin is the only openly gay woman in Congress. If she wins her race in 2012, she will become the first openly gay person to serve in the U.S. Senate. Her campaign has already generated significant excitement from women's groups and LGBT organizations.

Feingold's endorsement of Baldwin isn't entirely surprising, but it sends a strong signal to progressives that Wisconsin's Senate race will be one to watch -- and one that should build on a growing anti-Wall Street movement within the progressive community.

In her statement announcing her candidacy, Baldwin said she believes "Wisconsin families need a senator who will work hard to deliver results for the middle class -- a leader with the courage to do what's right, no matter how tough the odds or how powerful the special interests we have to fight."

Feingold has long been an advocate for strong Wall Street reform and cleaning up corporations -- he opposed the Dodd-Frank legislation because it didn't go far enough and called on Democrats to stop taking corporate contributions.

The only other non-incumbent endorsement Feingold has made in 2012 is his backing of Elizabeth Warren, who is running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. In his email endorsement of Warren, Feingold also stressed that she "stood up against the Wall Street wish list of a bankruptcy bill" and would "keep fighting for middle class families on Capitol Hill."

"Tammy is a true progressive champion, one of the strongest fighters for working families our state has ever produced and a hero to those of us who believe in breaking barriers and eliminating injustice in our society," adds Feingold, who also asks supporters to contribute to the Baldwin campaign. "I was proud to call her a colleague as we fought together in Washington for Wisconsin families -- and I’ll be proud to call her my Senator."

In August, Feingold announced that he would not be seeking elected office in 2012, clearing the field for Baldwin to become the frontrunner in the Senate race. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) is retiring, creating an open seat.

The GOP field is more crowded, with former governor Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and former congressman Mark Neumann all running. Several others are rumored to possibly jump in.

Feingold is now running Progressives United, an organization aimed at mitigating the effects of -- and eventually overturning -- the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. It has launched advocacy campaigns calling out corporate corruption and has given money to progressive candidates.

Feingold's Full Email:

SUBJ: In Tammy's corner

SENDER: Russ Feingold

Dear Friend,

Today, I’m proud to stand with a candidate who will keep the fight for progress, the middle class, and equality alive in the U.S. Senate: our good friend, Tammy Baldwin.

But with Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and big corporations already on the attack, we’ll need to fight back now --Tammy needs all of us in her corner.

Join me in supporting Tammy by making a contribution today to help her build her grassroots campaign!

I know Tammy has the values, the vision, and the guts to be a force for the middle class in the U.S. Senate. We stood together against going to war in Iraq. And nearly 10 years before the financial collapse, we fought the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act.

These commonsense rules of the road prevented Wall Street and the big banks from making risky investments, and the end of those safeguards led to our economic crisis. Tammy has always put what is right for working Wisconsin families ahead of powerful special interests in Washington.

And we know those same powerful special interests will spend a lot of money to keep Tammy out of the United States Senate.

So please join me in standing with Tammy by sending a contribution right now!

Tammy is a true progressive champion, one of the strongest fighters for working families our state has ever produced and a hero to those of us who believe in breaking barriers and eliminating injustice in our society. I was proud to call her a colleague as we fought together in Washington for Wisconsin families -- and I’ll be proud to call her my Senator.

Thanks for helping us fight to keep moving Wisconsin forward.

All the best,

Russ

Correction: This post previously referred to Tommy Thompson as a former senator instead of a former governor.

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