Wed August 8, 2012
Newt Gingrich Endorses Tommy Thompson for Senate
Next week, voters will decide a tight four-way U.S. Senate primary race for the Republican candidate who will face Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November. On Tuesday, former Gov. Tommy Thompson got a boost in that race from the man who led the Republican takeover of Congress in the 1990s: Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich joined Thompson for a luncheon in La Crosse on the grounds of a company the former governor once led. The former House speaker says he's endorsing Thompson because he has what it takes to shift the balance of power in the U.S. Senate in favor of Republicans. “I believe we need a Senator who actually knows what they're doing. The Senate is a very hard institution today. It's been very difficult for either party to get it to work. And I believe that he could reach across the aisle and actually make the Senate effective in way that nobody else in this race could.”
Gingrich says he's hoping GOP candidates will oust Democrats in five states, including Wisconsin, and predicted Thompson would play a key role in the health care debate in a Republican majority senate. But Thompson acknowledged that next week's primary election will be tight and he's counting on voters to cast ballots for a name they're familiar with. “Having been governor, secretary of health and human services, both state experience, federal experience and also in the free enterprise market, I think I am the only candidate, and I think this is true, of any place in the United States, Democrat or Republican, who can run statewide and just use my first name: Tommy.”
A July poll showed Thompson leading his closest opponent in the race, Madison investment banker Eric Hovde, 35-21 percent. A new poll comes out this week, however, that's expected to show that margin narrowing.