Tommy Thompson

Dick Armey Wanted FreedomWorks to Endorse Todd Akin after “Legitimate Rape” Comments

More details have arisen regarding the split between Dick Armey and FreedomWorks from this Mother Jones article, reported early this Christmas Eve. The article specifically details a memo that was released by Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks, that outlines his take on the dynamics of the split:

When the news broke in early December that former GOP Rep. Dick Armey had abruptly resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks, a powerhouse of the conservative movement and an instrumental force within the tea party, Armey maintained that the nasty split was due to differences he had with the top management of FreedomWorks about the group’s operations and future.
But Matt Kibbe’s memo paints a very different picture of the split.

One of the first actions taken by Dick Armey [after the September meeting] is his attempt to reassess our political priorities. “We have to help my friend Tommy Thompson,” he tells the staff in his first meeting with them. He later tells the staff that he has discussed the Missouri Senate race with “my friend [Senator] Roy Blunt, and he says they really need grassroots cover for Todd Akin.” FreedomWorks PAC had endorsed John Brunner, who barely lost to Akin [in the GOP primary]. We had declined to endorse Akin, even before “legitimate rape” became a late night punch line.

It seems to all be boiling down to Armey saying it’s about a book deal, specifically Hostile Takeover. Kibbe says it’s clearly about the establishment vs. the grassroots, which, ironically, is the entire point of the book.

WI Senate: Thompson defeats conservative-backed candidates

Tommy Thompson

Voters in Wisconsin headed to the polls yesterday to cast their ballots in party primaries. Among the races on the Republican ballot was the nomination for United States Senate. This race hasn’t receive a lot of attention, despite its interesting dynamics.

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson was considered the strong favorite early on, but thanks to his support of ObamaCare and other less-than-conservative economic views, two other candidates, Eric Hovde and former Rep. Mark Neumann, were able to gain support from grassroots conservative and Tea Party groups.

Despite most recent polls showing Hovde with a slight advantage, Thompson managed to pull off a win last night:

Wisconsin Republicans bucked Tea Party forces to pick 70-year-old former Gov. Tommy Thompson, a pillar of the GOP establishment, as their Senate standard-bearer Tuesday in a contest that could determine control of the upper chamber.

Thompson, who served four terms as governor, beat back a pair of well-funded, stubborn challengers in a closely contested race, setting up a marquee match-up with liberal Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin this fall.The ex-governor and former Health and Human Services Department Secretary finished ahead of hedge fund manager Eric Hovde, 34 percent to 31 percent. Former Rep. Mark Neumann was far behind at 23 percent. State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald won 12 percent of the vote.
The attacks on issues like Thompson’s past support for a health care mandate damaged him but the anti-Thompson vote was splintered between his three credible challengers.

WI Senate: GOP race still a toss-up thanks to conservative divide

Mark Neumann

Wisconsin Republicans will head to the polls tomorrow to determine their nominee for United States Senate. Whoever wins this brutal primary will go on to face Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in the fall.

Depending on what polls you’re looking at, former Gov. Tommy Thompson either has a slight advantage or the race is a toss-up between him, Eric Hovde, and former Rep. Mark Neumann. For example, a poll released last week by Marquette showed Thompson with a 9-point lead. But the final survey in the race from Public Policy Polling still shows a race that is too close to call:

PPP’s final poll on the Republican primary for Senate in Wisconsin continues to find a three way toss up: Eric Hovde’s at 27%, Tommy Thompson’s at 25%, Mark Neumann’s at 24%, and even Jeff Fitzgerald isn’t that far behind the rest of the pack at 15%.

The race has seen little movement in the last week. Fitzgerald’s gained two points, Hovde and Neumann have each dropped by a point, and Thompson hasn’t moved at all.

Some of the underlying numbers bode well for Hovde’s prospects. Among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ about casting their ballots he leads with 37% to 20% for Fitzgerald, 19% for Neumann, and 17% for Thompson. In the Missouri and Texas GOP contests over the last two weeks Todd Akin and Ted Cruz had the most enthusiastic supporters and both ended up outperforming their final poll numbers. Hovde appears to be the candidate best positioned to do that here.

WI Senate: New Marquette poll shows Thompson leading

Tommy Thompson

Last week, I explained that the divide over Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde could come back to haunt consertatives in Wisconsin because it could provide an opening for Tommy Thompson, who is viewed as an unacceptable nominee due to his past support of ObamaCare. Both alternatives to Thompson have received outside support, with Neumann being backed by Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund. Hovde has been endorsed by FreedomWorks.

But a new poll from Marquette shows that Thompson is leading the pack in the race, though his lead is down from their previous poll in early July:

With less than a week until the primary in the Wisconsin Senate race, former Gov. Tommy Thompson remains atop the GOP field, according to a poll released Wednesday by Marquette University Law School.

Despite facing a barrage of attacks from opponents attempting to paint him as a moderate, Thompson leads businessman Eric Hovde, 33 percent to 24 percent, among likely primary voters. Former Rep. Mark Neumann finished third with 21 percent, followed by state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald at 15 percent. Seven percent of respondents said they are undecided.

WI Senate: Americans for Tax Reform, Erick Erickson slam Eric Hovde

With just under two weeks left until Wisconsin Republican head to the polls to decide the nomination for United States Senate, it appears that Eric Hovde may have proven conservative groups, like the Club for Growth, right for targeting him on taxes. Yesterday, Americans for Tax Reform hit Hovde, who has not signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, for his willingness to accept a “grand bargin” on the budget:

According to Politifact, Hovde “has told voters that he would accept a budget-balancing deal that gets $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenue.”

Hovde’s admission leaves voters wondering if he understands the basic premise of a budget “compromise.” Perhaps Eric Hovde is not aware that budget compromises between Republicans and Democrats do not work. He should examine the 1982 and 1990 budget “compromises.”

Conservative divide could help Tommy Thompson

Wisconsin Senate Race

It’s about to get ugly in Wisconsin, folks. With a little under two weeks to go until Republicans head to the polls to cast their ballots for the United States Senate nomination, outside groups with an interesting knocking off former Gov. Tommy Thompson are about to make a hard push in the state. The only problem is that they disagree on the alternative.

As noted yesterday, the Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund have lined up behind fromer Rep. Mark Neumann, while FreedomWorks is backing Eric Hovde. This obviously presents a problem.

The last time there was a divide in a primary between influential groups and conservative figures, Nebraska Republicans wound up taking an economic statist in Deb Fischer, who was backed by Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum. The Club for Growth and FreedomWorks had firmly gotten behind Don Stenberg.

While Thompson has seen his numbers fall in Wisconsin, we could see a repeat of Nebraska. There is already some contention between these normally allied conservative groups. Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller notes an exchange between Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform and Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks. Ellis wondered outloud why Hovde was good pick if he hadn’t signed ATR’s famous anti-tax pledge, prompting Clancy to defend his group’s pick in the race.

WI Senate: Three-way tie for the GOP nomination

On the heels of Ted Cruz’s big win in Texas, we could be on the path to watching another Republican establishment candidate lose up in Wisconsin. For months, former Gov. Tommy Thompson had been consider the favorite to win, but thanks to his past support of ObamaCare, he now finds himself in a very tough race.

Recent polls had showed Eric Hovde, who is backed by FreedomWorks, surging against Thompson. Mark Neumann, who is endorsed by the Club for Growth and Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, failing to gain any steam in the race. That has apparently changed. According to the last survey from Public Policy Polling, we now have what is essentially a three-way tie for the GOP Senate nomination in Wisconsin:

PPP’s newest Wisconsin poll finds Eric Hovde leading with 28% to 25% for Thompson and Mark Neumann, and 13% for Jeff Fitzgerald.

WI Senate: Grassroots groups differ on candidates

Eric Hovde

With polls showing some fluctuation in the Republican Senate primary in Wisconsin, prominent grassroots groups are now lining up against each other as they side with different candidates. There is an eagerness to make sure that former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who supported ObamaCare, doesn’t get the nomination; however, FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth have different views on the best candidate.

The Club for Growth endorsed former Wisconsin Rep. Mark Neumann in the race late last year, noting his strong commitment to economic freedom and limited government, and launched a strong campaign against Thompson’s record, including his support of ObamaCare. And last week, the Club released this ad hitting Thompson and Eric Hovde, a Madison businessman who has seen support rise in recent weeks, on their support for higher taxes:

WI Senate: Eric Hovde overtakes Tommy Thompson

In a post yesterday, I noted that, even though he had a sizable polling advantage, Tommy Thompson could soon face a problem due to his support of ObamaCare thanks to renewed focus on the law. Unfortunately, I hit “publish” before I saw the results of the latest survey out of Wisconsin from Public Policy Polling. According the results, that polling advantage isn’t just gone, Thompson now trails Eric Hovde, a businessman from Madison:

Businessman Eric Hovde (R) has surged past former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in the state’s crowded Republican Senate primary, according to a new poll from the Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling.

Hovde leads Thompson by 31 to 29 percent, with former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.) pulling 15 percent support and Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald at 9 percent.

Recent polling has shown Hovde gaining traction, but this is the first poll, including Hovde’s own, that shows him with a lead over the well-known former governor. Hovde’s numbers have been boosted in large part by the more than $3 million he’s spent on television advertising — Thompson hasn’t been on the air nearly that much, and Neumann’s first ad debuted Tuesday.

Renewed focus on Tommy Thompson’s ObamaCare support

While most hotly contested primaries are over or soon coming to end, the battle for the Wisconsin Republican Senate nomination is a race that could get interesting before voters head to the polls on August 14th. Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is currently leading the pack, which includes Mark Neumann, a former Congressman backed by conservative groups.

But now that the recall election is over and with conservatives fired up by the Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in the ObamaCare case, Thompson is coming under a fresh round of fire for his past support of the health care law:

President Barack Obama sought to head off a conservative rebellion on health care three years ago, pointedly declaring that some Republicans were rising above partisanship by calling for comprehensive reforms.

Including, he said, “Republican Tommy Thompson.”

Those 2009 comments have come back to bite Thompson in his Wisconsin Republican Senate primary in which his conservative opponents are trying to make him the first real political victim of the landmark Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. The Wisconsin attacks will test the continued potency of the issue among GOP base voters and may offer a measure of whether the tea party still has the power in Republican primaries to purge more moderate candidates in swing states.

Thompson’s campaign rivals are plotting a fresh round of attacks, some of which revolve around his past health care comments, in order to tear down his comfortable lead in the polls.

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