On Tuesday night Tommy Thompson brought an end to a nasty Republican primary by beating out three others for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination. Thompson will go on to challenge Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) in November for the state’s open Senate seat.
Thompson, 70, is the former governor of Wisconsin and the Health and Human Services secretary under ex-President George W. Bush. He beat hedge-fund manager Eric Hovde and former congressman Mark Neumann. Neumann had the support of Tea Party conservatives including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and the Club for Growth.
Baldwin, 50, faced no primary opposition. Former Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold and his group Progressives United, along with a handful of other progressive organizations, will begin a “Cheddarbomb” fundraising effort to help Baldwin’s efforts against Thompson.
Even before the primary results were in Baldwin had challenged the nominee to join her in three general election debates. Baldwin agreed to accept three debates that would be televised to a statewide audience. “There are clear differences in this election and voters deserve to have myself and my opponent meet face-to-face to debate the issues. I look forward to the Republican nominee joining me at these three statewide debates ” Baldwin said in a statement to reporters.
Baldwin was quick to distinguish herself from her challenger. From her statement:
Make no mistake, Tommy Thompson will stand with those who already have too much power and influence in Washington. I will fight to do what’s right for the middle class and Thompson will put those at the very top and the big monied special interests in Washington ahead of Wisconsin’s hard working families. I will take on these powerful interests in Washington, and in the Senate, I will stand up for Wisconsin’s middle class, as I always have.
Unlike Tommy Thompson, I will fight for Wisconsin’s middle class by working across party lines to move our economic recovery forward — working to build a “Made in Wisconsin” manufacturing economy; providing tax cuts for small business to fuel job creation; ending tax breaks for outsourcing and giving companies tax incentives to create jobs here at home. That is the road to a stronger middle class, a stronger Wisconsin, and brighter future.
I believe Wisconsin deserves a US Senator who is unafraid to take on the big moneyed special interests in Washington. And I believe that the middle class needs someone fighting for them to make sure they have a fair shot at the American dream.
Tommy Thompson disagrees and he couldn’t be more wrong.
Tommy Thompson supports the policies of the past. Policies that have failed. Policies from the past that crashed our economy, and got us into our fiscal mess in the first place. He believes we should slash the very investments we need to move our economy forward, in education, innovation, and infrastructure — all while cutting taxes for those at the very top.
Tommy Thompson would actually cut taxes for millionaires like himself while increasing taxes on the middle class, increasing out-of-pocket health care costs for seniors, increasing the cost of higher education for students and their families, and ending Medicare as we know it for future generations.
That is not the America we believe in and it is not the Wisconsin we believe in. I believe that path is wrong for Wisconsin, wrong for our nation, and that we need to do what’s right for the middle class.
Women’s groups reacted swiftly to the Thompson nomination as well. “Tommy Thompson was a partner at Washington lobbying firm who will make it his mission to dismantle critical services for seniors and dramatically reduce women’s access to basic healthcare,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “Tammy Baldwin is the only candidate who is committed to expanding opportunities for women and families instead of pushing an extreme, right-wing social agenda. This November, the choice for Wisconsin voters couldn’t be clearer. Thompson will join Washington Republicans in rewarding companies that outsource jobs and protecting millionaires at the expense of the middle class. Tammy is a champion for women and families – with the priorities Wisconsin needs in a senator.”
Tommy Thompson’s positions are extreme across the board:
· Thompson signed legislation criminalizing safe abortion procedures and opposes federal funding for family planning.
· Thompson promised to pass the Ryan Plan if elected to the Senate – a plan which would cut vital services for women, children, and seniors, and end Medicare as we know it.
· Thompson would repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which covers critical preventative healthcare services like mammograms and contraception for women, and ensures that all patients, including children, aren’t denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
· Thompson joined DC Mega Lobbying Firm Akin Gump, which raked in millions from trying to influence the federal government on behalf of clients like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bain Capital, and oil and gas companies.
Really, there couldn’t be more contrast in values and priorities than Baldwin and Thompson.
The general election promises to be a hard-fought battle. Thompson will have a lot of money behind his efforts as Republicans try to grab the open seat. Baldwin, a fierce campaigner and tireless advocate, is clearly ready though.
Photo from IowaPolitics via flickr.