Feingold endorses Warren for U.S. Senate

Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold today endorsed Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. Warren is fighting to take back the seat that Republican Scott Brown picked up following Ted Kennedy’s death in 2009.

The endorsement is Feingold’s first of the 2012 election season. Analysts say it’s evidence that Warren’s race will be a top priority for the nation’s political progressives.

In his endorsement, Feingold called support for Warren’s campaign “an absolutely crucial part of our fight against the nasty influence of corporate money in politics.”

He wrote to backers of his political action committee Progressives United, “Elizabeth has fought for years to rein in Wall Street and protect the middle class.”

Warren faces several challengers in a Democratic primary next year. But she’s clearly her party’s frontrunner. A recent Public Policy Polling survey showed her narrowly ahead of Brown by 46 to 44 percent of voters.

The national Democratic Party has maintained official neutrality in Warren’s primary race. But with more support lining up in her column than anyone else’s, it’s obvious that party leaders consider her the strongest contender to unseat Brown.

Feingold’s endorsement is expected to raise considerable money for her.

Although his support for Warren is Feingold’s first public endorsement, he attended a fundraiser last week in Milwaukee on behalf of his former senate colleague Maria Cantwell of Washington. She faces a tough re-election bid in 2012.