This is vat once stunning and totally believable: when inter-city rail was proposed by Tommy Thompson, Scott Walker voted for it –twice. But now that it’s been proposed, if not enacted by Jim Doyle, Tom Barrett, and President Obama — his mortal enemies — he’s against it. Utterly (un)believable.

Cindy at Fairly Conservative has the vote record on display.

(And if good ol’ TOMMY! was behind it, why didn’t it go through?)

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Wisc. Senate race gains fifth Republican candidate

Word is out that another Republican primary candidate will be vying to take on Sen. Russ Feingold in the general election.Ron Johnson, who’s labeled himself as an “Oshkosh businessman,” is adding campaign staff. According to WisPolitics, one of them his staffers has worked for the recent spat of W.M.C.-backed and hard-right state Supreme Court justices, Michael Gableman and Annette Ziegler, as well as Attorney General Van Hollen. This tells me he’ll try to play very dirty against Feingold, and will probably try to turn the primary into a real mudfest.

Go for it. Few things work better for Feingold than his opponents hurling mud at one another. It’s taken Johnson this long to get into the race, I wonder what else he can do to differentiate himself from his Republican opponents. It took Johnson even longer to get in than it took for TOMMY! to hog the spotlight while flirting with a run, only to drop out.

TPM DC on the Feingold, Thompson, and the Wisc. U.S. Senate race

Specifically, on how TOMMY! won’t be getting into it. I think it’s a bit much to say that the Feingold campaign is “patting itself on the back” after hearing that Thompson won’t be trying for the seat. It’s not like them to get cocky. We know how close some of the past races have come, even though Senator Feingold won decisively enough each time. And who knows, Dave Westlake may make a stronger bid than anticipated. (Though I’ll endlessly question myself if his appearance at Drinking Liberally this week helps him win.)

Who knows; how long does Tommy have to enter the race? Might this be a clever psych-out? Might he suddenly slip in at the last minute? He would have from June 1, 2010 until  5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of July 2010 to do that, according to Wisconsin state elections law. (Link: PDF, 0.6MB.) But gathering signatures is hard to do covertly, especially when you need 2,000 to 4,000 signatures to be on the ballot. That’s not the sort of thing you’d want to keep quiet if you’re a possible juggernaut like  TOMMY!

No, he’s probably out for real. We still have yet to see if Dick Leinenkugel is in.

Feingold campaign statement on Thompson not joining the race

Straight from the Feingold camp:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2010

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on Secretary Tommy Thompson


MILWAUKEE – The Feingold Campaign released the following statement today from Senator Feingold following reports that Secretary Tommy Thompson will not be running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.”I’m disappointed that Secretary Thompson decided not to get in the ring. I’m sure there will now be talk about other candidates getting in this race, but it’s my hope that the election can now be focused where it should be – on the issues important to the people of Wisconsin and who will be an independent voice for them in Washington, working hard to move our state forward.”

The Feingold Campaign announced earlier this week that it finished the first quarter of 2010 with nearly $4.3 million cash on hand – with an average contribution of a very low $51.  The Feingold Campaign has 11 field offices fully staffed and up and running, 27 active regional campaign steering committees with more than 1,300 members who help advise the campaign on outreach in their local communities, endorsements from more than 2,500 Wisconsin elected officials, nearly 24,000 volunteers and more than 100,000 supporters more than six months before Election Day.

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That said, I have a hunch there’s a bit of elation in the Feingold campaign that they won’t have to face Thompson. And Thompson is right: this campaign would have been a hell of a fight. I’d look to Westlake to try and stage an insurgent campaign by making appearances at events such as Drinking Liberally; for Mr. Wall to give his campaign more of his own money — only to lose; and for Leinenkugel could go either way. Although he seems to be having as many commitment problems as did TOMMY!

TOMMY! drives Tea Partiers away from Madison rally

The answer to  Yesterday, I posed the question of how would the benighted tea party crowd react to Tommy Thompson (er, TOMMY!) being the keynote speaker at today’s tea party rally at the state capital in Madison. Do recall that our state’s former Great Leader and former Gee-Dubya Bush Cabinet member is the same man responsible for creating the state’s current budget deficit, the stadium tax, and now will not reveal his lengthy list of lobbying clients.

The answer, in short, ain’t purty. Many are angry that their rally would be used by Thompson as a platform to announce his decision on whether or not to challenge noted reformer and incumbent U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in the 2010 election. Dave Westlake, who’s running in the Republican primary for Senate, has labeled himself as a tea partier, said as much in a quote to the Oshkosh Northwestern:

“He’s using a platform that’s supposed to be about rallying around a common cause to reduce the size of government, to lower spending and lower taxes and he’s using it for his own personal announcement,” Westlake said. “He’s not the tea party movement. He’s a big spender and did a lot of things that was the antithesis of what people in the tea party want.”

TOMMY!… the picture-perfect teabagger?

Westlake will be at next week’s Drinking Liberally Milwaukee, by the way.

Cory at Eye on Wisconsin has a much more detailed look at the effect that dear old Tom coming to the tea party would have.

Update: Thompson will NOT run. I’d look to Westlake to try and stage an insurgent campaign from here on out, Wall to give his campaign more money, only to lose, and Leinenkugel could go either way. He’s having as many commitment problems as did TOMMY!

TOMMY! to announce decision soon — probably will not take on Feingold?

Former Bush Secretary TOMMY! Thompson has said that he will announce his decision on whether or not to run against U.S. Senator Russ Feingold this Thursday at a tea party event in Madison.

Apparently he’s been rushed into making a decision. Recall that TOMMY! had previously said he’d announce his decision in May.

Several sources, including Firedoglake, this one guy’s (Scott? Tim? Tom?) blog, WBAY TV-2 in Green Bay, WTMJ (which is part of the parent company of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and many other papers, TV, and radio stations), and the aforementioned Journal Sentinel are all saying he’s probably not going to do it. WTMJ makes TOMMY! sound wishy-washy about whether or not to do it. According to their story, Thompson told the AP that “the only person who knows what I’m going to do is myself and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

TOMMY!

According to JS, “longtime Thompson supporter” and fellow ur-lobbyist Bill McCoshen “said… that Thompson had not made a final decision. ‘It is fair to say a run is unlikely, but we won’t know for sure until tomorrow,’ McCoshen said in the e-mail.” [Link.]

We in the Cheddarsphere have long made it clear that a run by TOMMY! would make lobbyists very, very happy. I really have to wonder what sort of filter the tea party crowd is going to be listening to him through on Thursday. Thompson was part of the federal government that ran up the deficit in an unprecedented manner. And nowadays, he’s the best friend of many D.C. lobbyists. Reports have surfaced that another D.C. lobbyist bought the “tommy2010” domain name for him. And of course this was all after he’d stuck southeast Wisconsin with the stadium tax, expressed support for what has become the health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. And after he’d left Wisconsin without a rainy day fund and a steep budget deficit. Thanks, buddy! (And he’s going to talk to the tea partiers! O, the irony…)

Yeah. He’s got a lot of baggage. And there’s more we haven’t found yet. While I’m sure he’d love it if we talked about him even more, Tom, buddy, do us a favor, and stay out. ‘k? Thaaaanks.

Doyle cabinet member Leinenkugel to run against Sen. Feingold?

Talk about a turn-around.

Dick Leinenkugel, the future-former Doyle administration Commerce Secretary, has announced he’s stepping down from his post. Gov. Doyle was quick to thank him for “attracting and retaining numerous businesses and creating thousands of jobs.”

But now the word is that Mr. Leinenkugel may announce that this mysterious thing he’s “tremendously excited” to pursue will be a run against U.S. Senator Russ Feingold. What’ doubly curious is that the former Doyle administration secretary will be running as a Republican, further crowding the Republican primary ticket. He would join Terrence “Terry” Wall and Dave Westlake as the third official candidate.

Former Bush II cabinet member TOMMY! Thompson is still soaking up the spotlight by not telling us whether or not he’ll run. If he does, he’d be the fourth.

So then, if Dick Leinenkugel does join the race, I have a few questions:

1) What would the Tea Party crowd think of Dick Leinenkugel, a former Doyle admin secretary, becoming a GOP candidate? So far, Dave Westlake is the only candidate in the Republican primary that has wedded himself to the Tea Party. It would be curious to see how it would be received if Dick Leinenkugel suddenly started wearing blaze orange shirts and calling for… whatever the Tea Partiers call far.

1a) According to WisPolitics, “Prior to his appointment to the Commerce post in September 2008, [Dick] Leinenkugel most recently served as the vice president of sales and marketing at the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. He joined the family business in 1987.” That company is now part of the South African corporation SABMiller. How does that compute in TP logic? (Is there such a thing?)

2) What would TOMMY! think? Not that it matters, really, but we’ll have one existing candidate with very high name recognition that may even rival TOMMY!‘s. Of course no one is quite the lobbyist like he was is.

3) You can ask Dave Westlake what he thinks of all this at the April 21st Drinking Liberally Milwaukee, where Dave will be the darling subject of discussion of the lefty drinking contingent for the evening. Who loves ya, Davey?

Zach at BB has more on this, as does PIP. And Cory has three even better questions about this. (I feel like a total newb some times compared to guys like these.) 🙂