Tommy Thompson used to be the biggest name in the Wisconsin GOP — now, he’s having trouble persuading the current party that he’s one of them.
Caught in a four-way Republican Senate primary, Thompson has a lot of ground to cover to win over the state’s new breed of conservatives.
The former four-term governor will face Wisconsin voters in a Republican primary on Aug. 14, along with self-financing businessman Eric Hovde, former Rep. Mark Neumann and state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald.
At a Q-and-A session with a tea party group in June, Thompson described himself as “way over on the right, but I’m also an individual that can get things done,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
But the Thompson campaign rejects any suggestion that the former governor has gone further to the right, or is seeking the support of folks like Nugent in order to appease tea party activists.
“Tommy Thompson’s record as governor put him at the forefront of the conservative movement,” spokesman Brian Nemoir told TPM. “Any effort to re-categorize Thompson as anything other than the governor who delivered historic tax relief, created 750,000 jobs and used his veto pen a record 1900 times to carve nearly $300 million out of state budgets is an unfortunate chapter in revisionist history. It is Tommy’s unrelenting conservative principles coupled with his defense of personal liberty which has earned him the friendship of American legends like Ted Nugent.”
Thompson has had a long and successful career in Wisconsin politics, but has not been on a ballot since 1998. Since he launched his Senate candidacy, some have wondered whether he is conservative enough
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