Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, a Republican, announced his plans to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl on Thursday in front of a large crowd of energetic supporters who came to back his campaign.
Thompson, who entered the room to cheers of “Tommy, Tommy” and music blaring, cited the nation’s growing debt and increased government spending, programs and regulations under President Barack Obama’s administration as reasons why he decided to seek election.
“I am not running on what we have accomplished in the past or to further a career,” Thompson said. “I am running to help America reclaim its future and its destiny – for my children and grandchildren and your children and grandchildren.”
Thompson’s announcement was made at Weldall Manufacturing, which has recently expanded operations in Waukesha. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pointed out Thursday that while Thompson had been critical of stimulus money, Weldall received the federal funds to assist with its expansion.
Meanwhile, both the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin issued statements about Thompson’s campaign.
"With today’s announcement by former Governor Tommy Thompson, voters have gained another strong conservative choice in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate,” said Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney in a prepared statement. “Thompson joins an impressive field of GOP candidates with proven track records of job creation and fiscal responsibility. We look forward to contrasting the accomplishments of the GOP field with the failures of Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin.”
Former Congressman Mark Neumann and State Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald also plan on seeking election in the 2012 U.S. Senate race.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s communications director, Graeme Zielinski, took Thompson to task in an e-mail to Wisconsin reporters, saying the Thompson had changed positions in areas of stem cell research, health care reforms, concealed carry and other areas.
“In Tommy Thompson’s latest bid for the spotlight of public office, Thompson has had to flip-flop, bend, contort, and in many cases simply run away from his previous record on the issues,” Zielinski said.