Skip to comments.Thompson a no-show at Senate debates in Wisconsin
Posted on 04/05/2012 1:07:27 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
MADISON Theres no arguing the point. Tommy Thompson is not going to debate.
At least not anytime soon.
And its unclear whether the former governor and, according to polls and pundits, the front-runner in Wisconsins nationally watched U.S. Senate race, is going to debate his fellow Republican opponents at all leading up to Augusts primary.
Thompsons campaign Wednesday said the candidate would not be able to make it to next weeks U.S. Senate debate, hosted by Wisconsin Reporter and the Republican Party of Waukesha County.
Unfortunately, due to a prior engagement, Governor Thompson will not be able to attend the upcoming debate, said Thompson spokesman Vartan Djihanian. The governor tried to move his calendar around, but unfortunately he was not able to do so. He feels it is important to honor his commitments.
Djihanian could not immediately say what prior engagement the governor is scheduled to attend April 11, the day of the debate at the Waukesha County Exposition Center in Waukesha.
Wisconsin Reporter sent out the formal invitations to five U.S. Senate campaigns, including Thompsons, several weeks ago. Informal invitations through phone calls and emails began going out to the campaigns in early February.
The Thompson campaign did not respond to any of several invitations, including one emailed as recently as Tuesday, and did not return more than a dozen phone calls and many more emails from Wisconsin Reporter.
The other candidates appearing Wisconsins former 1st District U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, investment fund manager and developer Eric Hovde, and physical therapist Kip Smith all responded within a few weeks of the invitation, committing to the debate.
Asked why the first time the campaign officially contacted Wisconsin Reporter about the event was late Wednesday afternoon, Djihanian said, Up until very recently weve been trying to move the calendar around to accommodate the invitation.
Thats why we are letting you know now, the spokesman said.
Thompsons opponents expressed disappointment that the former four-term governor would be missing another debate.
Thompson passed up the first two formal debates of the campaign season last month in Manitowoc and Appleton.
His opponents said Thompson begged off the Appleton debate, sponsored by tea party group the Fox Valley Initiative, not long before the event. The organization, which could not be reached for comment, left an empty chair for the candidate at the debate.
Djihanian could not confirm the account.
Eric believes our nation is heading toward a financial cliff, said Hovde press secretary Sean Lansing. That is why hes running, because he has a profound concern about the direction of this country. To that end, he feels very strongly that people of this state absolutely deserve to learn where all of the candidates state on the issues.
Our hope is that everyone would participate, Lansing said.
One political expert said he suspects Thompson is playing the Rose Garden Strategy, taking the safe route of the front-runner and staying away from confrontation with candidates.
Hes got better name identification at the polls, and hes still well liked, said Joe Heim, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Hes probably figuring this is a safer strategy not to get involved in this unless he had to.
Polls consistently have shown Thompson ahead of the Republican pack, and the latest Rasmussen Report telephone survey of likely voters in Wisconsin indicates Thompson with a 4 percentage point advantage over U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Madison, the Democrats sole serious candidate. The survey of 500 voters, conducted on March 27, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.
Heim said Thompson may have good reason to avoid debating.
He might see this as a potential lose-lose situation, he said, noting that his trailing opponents are likely to gang up on Thompson.
Neumann, considered by many pundits as Thompsons toughest challenger in the battle for Wisconsins conservative vote, shied away from outright criticism of Thompson, sticking to the campaigns his question message: Would the real conservative please stand up?
Marks the most conservative candidate in the race and hell win any debate about his plan to balance the budget and repeal ObamaCare, said Neumann spokesman Chip Englander.
Djihanian said it is completely absurd to assert the former governor has been absent at public events.
The governor just made a joint appearance with the candidates in Waukesha hosted by (conservative talk show host) Charlie Sykes, the Thompson official said.
That event, however, was not a debate but a forum with Republican Party leaders and candidates.
Sykes is expected to serve as a panelist at Wisconsin Reporters debate.
Asked if Thompson will appear at future Senate debates, Djihanian said the governor is looking forward to making joint appearances in the future.
Pressed whether that meant the governor would debate, Djihanian said, I think I just gave you my answer.
Just what we need, another RINO in the senate.
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I’m for Thompson, but this is not a wife move. It makes him look impreious.
It could actually be a “wife move.” I’m not clear on how it makes him look impreious, though.
His arrogance is appalling!
He’s running solely on his name recognition, not good enough for me. Plus, I think he’s too old. We need someone who can hold the seat for many years.
If your wife made you move, you’d be impreious too!
Tommy has not spent much time in Wisconsin lately, the state has changed a ton since he left. Some of his judicial appointments from his time as Governor aren’t showing very well either. We just do not need another RINO
Neumann is the true conservative in the race and Thompson is a CINO. We need more CONSERVATIVES in the Senate so we can get conservative leadership with a pair of cojones (which Mitch McConnell lacks) willing to stand up to the Democrats’ expected obstruction. Either Neumann or Thompson will be able to defeat Baldwin.
“Im not clear on how it makes him look impreious, though.”
Nor am I, but my guess is I’d rather have a senator who’s impreious than one who’s in a Prius.
(Oh, something on topic? While it’s pretty standard for a front-runner to try to avoid debates, it doesn’t serve the voters very well. I’d like to know what he thinks about developments — such as 0bamacare — since his retirement, and not just what his staff can put out in a policy paper, but how he stands by or alters his beliefs when challenged.)
Go Fitzgerald !
I know—once again Conservatives split their vote and a CINO waltzes in.
Actually, it’s a kind way of pointing out Neumann is a has-been (and so is Thompson). Fitzgerald has been in the middle of the firestorm in Madistan and deserves credit and a reward.
Maybe Neumann & Fitzgerald should get together and flip a coin to see who gets out. Maybe by the August primary more Wisconsin Republicans will wise up and move away from Thompson.
Do you know anything about Thompson or are you asking your comment about him on this single article?
I’d take him over Neumann any day. Neumann runs dirty campaigns and campaigns like a liberal - half-truths, misrepresenting facts, stretching the truth. Thanks to him we almost didn’t get Scott Walker as governor.
Bottom line it for you - Tommy Thompson loves Wisconsin and the people of Wisconsin. would never screw us. Neumann has been trying for years to get reelected and failing, using every dirty trick he can think of and it has turned a lot of people off that used to be for him.
Neumann hasn’t done anything worthwhile since the ‘90s. His main habit has been trying to find any way possible to get to high office to the exclusion of all else, and as pointed out by another poster, not by honorable means. His getting out of the race in favor of Fitzgerald is a no-brainer.
It is true that since 1986, he has mellowed a bit. Personally I would not mind him being more 1986-I sh myself. But he loves the state, and he does not campaign like a weasel liberal like Neumann does. I could never trust him if he did.
I don’t get a vote since I’m not from Wisconsin. I do know that Neumann was one of the first Senate candidates that DeMint’s PAC endorsed this year.
I suspect that Thompson will end up Senator and my fear is that we’ll have another McCain type Republican supporting McConnell. Well, at least we’ll have Mandel from Ohio and a number of other true Conservatives newly elected from other states. I hope that the balance of power shifts enough so that we can end up with a Conservative as Senate Majority Leader instead of McConnell.
To say DeMint has been diminished regarding his “endorsements” would be an understatement. My main beefs with Thompson is that he had ample opportunity to take on either Feingold or Kohl back in the ‘90s and he passed, and now he’s a bit too old (embarking on a Senate career in your 70s is ill-advised). It’s a valid question to ask him if he intends to serve more than one term (as a second would take him into his 80s), and most have to look to two to three terms to become influential.
I do agree about replacing McConnell as GOP Senate leader. I wouldn’t mind someone like Jim Inhofe.
“To say DeMint has been diminished regarding his endorsements would be an understatement.”
The four Republican Senatorial candidates that DeMint’s SENATE CONSERVATIVES FUND has endorsed (and provided financial support to) so far in 2012 are:
Josh Mandel of Ohio (Won the Primary)
Ted Cruz of Texas
Don Stenberg of Nebraska, and
Mark Neumann of Wisconsin
Each of these four candidates are conservative at their “core” and won’t go wobbly once in the Senate.
There are other conservative Republican Senate candidates that DeMint will certainly support at the opportune time. For example, if Richard Mourdock prevails over the CINO, Obama-friendly Richard Lugar in the Indiana primary he could expect DeMint financial support (not that Mourdock would need it in Indiana) in the general election.