ICYMI: Senator Feingold Hopes Voters Forget About His 18 Years in Washington

In case you missed it, recent news reports show Senator Russ Feingold is trying to hide the fact that he has spent nearly 30 years as a professional politician, including 18 years in Washington, D.C.

Dan Bice with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday that Wisconsin’s Democratic Party Chairwoman says Senator Feingold’s campaign is literally asking supporters to “never call him ‘Senator Feingold.’” And in an interview with the News-Sickle-Arrow published today, Feingold said he only spent a “small portion” of his life in elected office, despite his 18 years in the U.S. Senate and 10 years in the Wisconsin State Senate.

“Senator Feingold’s attempts to fool the people of Wisconsin into thinking that he’s a fresh face is amusing,” said Ron Johnson for Senate Campaign Manager Betsy Ankney. “Wisconsinites know he’s still the same old ultra-partisan professional politician who spent 18 years in Washington – and who the voters threw out in 2010. Sorry, Senator.”

You can read the full Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story below:

Democratic Party chair says it’s ‘Russ,’ not Senator Feingold

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Daniel Bice
July 30, 2015

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold may have spent nearly two decades in Washington, D.C., but his campaign apparently hopes you don’t remember that.

At least that’s according to state Democratic Party Chairwoman Martha Laning.

In a recent chat with Door County Dems, Laning said the Feingold campaign has told supporters to refer to the Democratic candidate as “Russ,” not Sen. Feingold, and not to say that he is hoping to “go back” to the Senate. Feingold is challenging U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican who beat him in 2010.

“I can share with you Russ’ campaign (and) what they’ve told us so far,” Laning said in the videotaped segment, first reported by the The Washington Free Beacon.

“Never call him ‘Senator Feingold.’ We are to call him ‘Russ,'” she said. “They want us to say ‘Russ’ because the last campaign — it was all about ’16 years, 16 years, 16 years, he’s there too long.’ And so they want to say, ‘He’s just one of us.’ We want to go back to Russ being Russ.”

It’s a minor point, but Feingold served three full terms in the Senate, meaning he was in D.C. for 18 years, not 16.

Laning continued, “Second one is we never want to say ‘go back’ to the Senate. We just want to say ‘electing’ him to the Senate. They want to totally get away from all that.”

An insider close to Feingold made it clear that the ex-senator’s team is none too pleased with the video or Laning, who was elected to the top Dem post in June.

“This is no time for on-the-job training,” said the source, who asked not to be named because he’s not authorized to speak for the campaign. “I’m pretty certain they don’t want Martha Laning to use the words ‘Russ Feingold’ ever again.”

Johnson’s campaign immediately went on the attack late Wednesday, saying the video showed Feingold was trying to obscure his time in the nation’s capital.

“Senator Feingold’s attempt to fool the people of Wisconsin into thinking that he’s a fresh face is amusing,” said Betsy Ankney, campaign manager for Johnson.

Tom Russell, who is running Feingold’s campaign, did not deny that his shop had offered these instructions to Democratic operatives.

“We always tell folks to call him Russ, but of course, he doesn’t mind when people call him by his full name,” Russell said via email.

But isn’t his full name Russell Dana Feingold, not Senator Feingold?

Anyway, Russell said his boss has always emphasized that the Senate seat was neither his nor Johnson’s. So, technically, he’s not winning “his” seat.

In a statement, Laning accused the Republicans of using her remarks to attack Feingold personally. She said Feingold has always been “Russ” in her mind.

The newly elected Democratic Party boss did admit one mistake.

“Unfortunately, I mischaracterized what Russ says both publicly and privately, to even his closest Democratic supporters,” Laning said. “This Senate seat is not his or Ron Johnson’s because it belongs to the people of Wisconsin.”

But she is not the first prominent Democrat to make such an error.

In a May email to party members, former Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate encouraged people to attend a fundraising reception “to ensure we have the resources we need to retake Russ Feingold’s U.S. Senate seat.”

Read the article online: http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/319631681.html