Five years after losing his Senate seat to Republican Ron Johnson, Russ Feingold is looking for a rematch.
The former three-term Democratic senator announced in an online video posted Thursday he plans to run for the Wisconsin seat in 2016.
“My desire to serve is stronger than ever,” Feingold said. “I know that working together, we can make great things possible again.”
Johnson defeated Feingold in their 2010 midterm matchup by 5 points, part of the tea party wave that swept many conservatives into office. This time around, Feingold could benefit from a presidential-year turnout in the Badger State, which hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1984.
Given the state’s voting history, Wisconsin is likely to be a top target for Democrats looking to win back control of the Senate in 2016. Democrats need to gain four seats if they keep the White House – in which case the vice president would cast tie-breaking votes – or five if Republicans win the presidency.
A poll by Marquette Law School released in April showed Feingold leading Johnson 54 percent to 38 percent.
Soon after Feingold’s announcement Thursday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a statement blasting his entrance in the race.
“Wisconsin families rejected Feingold’s broken promises and his liberal record once, and they are going to do it again,” NRSC communications director Andrea Bozek said. “Wisconsin voters know a desperate career politician when they see one, and that is why they will re-elect their independent leader, Ron Johnson.”