Tommy Thompson, the Republican candidate running for Senate in Wisconsin, is fighting an uphill battle to win this race. A new ad from the progressive Majority PAC bludgeons Thompson with comments he made to conservative voters back in June.
Thompson, formerly Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Bush administration, has presented himself as a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, which he says is “so deeply flawed and such a clear and present threat to our economic stability that there is no way to fix it.” He has vowed to terminate both Medicare and Medicaid, and calls himself the right man for the job.
In the video from last week, Thompson boasts of his unique credentials — “Who better than me, who’s already finished one of the entitlement programs [welfare], to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?”
The Majority PAC ad hits Thompson over the head with his promise to eliminate Medicare, and his “plan to cut taxes for those billion-dollar corporations he’s working for in DC, and stick middle-class families with the bill.”
The most recent RCP Average poll shows Thompson trailing 5.2 points behind his opponent, Democratic congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, 49.5 to 44.3.
When Thompson emerged the victor in the Republican primaries in August, the GOP was awash with optimism. With a six-point and nine-point lead over Baldwin in two live-caller surveys, Thompson appeared to be on track to take the Senate seat vacated by former Democratic incumbent Herb Kohl.
However, the consequences of a cutthroat and expensive primary would soon show. Thompson was forced to put his campaign on hold and focus on fundraising — they were “broke,” Thompson admitted — which allowed his Democratic opponent, Baldwin, to capitalize on the moment and campaign unopposed.
In the meantime, Baldwin has characterized Thompson as a “corporate lobbyist.” After his role as Bush’s HHS Secretary, Thompson joined the law and lobbying firm Akin Gump as a consultant. Though he was not registered as a lobbyist, he did offer advice to health care clients. Since his time in the Bush administration, Thompson’s fortune has swelled by several million dollars.
In the early stages of building a political career, Thompson held close ties to the policy organization known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC has been under attack in 2012 for its role in pushing the notorious voter ID bills, and the Stand Your Ground gun legislation. Mother Jones further investigates the connection between the Republican candidate and ALEC.
In the past month and a half, Baldwin has successfully mounted a strong comeback, and as Election Day rapidly approaches, the Democratic candidate appears to have the upper hand.