Why Feingold lost
He lost the ’92 mojo to RoJo and was never able to get it back.
“We zoned in on those two things and had the ammunition from the last two years with Obama,” said Johnson’s media consultant, Curt Anderson, Wes Anderson’s brother, who worked at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 1992 when Feingold defeated Kasten.
Curt Anderson said the Johnson team believed Feingold’s independence was based on some “inconsequential votes.”
Feingold told voters on the campaign trail he’d opposed bank bailouts under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He may be best known as the single dissenting vote against the USA PATRIOT Act.
But in an election in which voters were most concerned about the economy, Republicans focused on Feingold’s votes for the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, health care reform and Obama’s budget.
Democrats admit that instead of rewriting history and distorting Feingold’s record, Republicans were able to focus on what they believe he is now. By the end of the race, Feingold’s greatest strength was sapped.
Some Democrats in the state said the Senator’s national reputation — and his brief flirtation with a 2008 presidential bid — may have exceeded his connection to the Badger State.
“He thought visiting 72 counties every two years would be enough to insulate him from the environment,” a Democratic source said.
In general, multiple Democratic observers in the state said, Feingold overestimated himself and underestimated Johnson.
“Quite frankly, Russ was a little arrogant,” a second Badger State Democrat said.
Maybe Feingold should have spent less time reading the glowing reviews of himself in the Capital Times and the Progressive and more time actually listening when he visited every county.