Ex-Gov. Thompson Launches GOP Bid For Senate

Wisconsin’s former Gov. Tommy Thompson has launched a bid for U.S. Senate, 13 years after his name last appeared on a ballot.

The Republican formally announced his bid Thursday, though he has already been fending off attacks from Democrats and more conservative Republicans over his position on President Barack Obama’s health care reforms.

Thompson spoke in support of reforms when the overhaul legislation was working its way through Congress, though he now favors repealing the law.

“Replacing (the Affordable Care Act) with market-based solutions that improve access to health care, drive down costs, spur innovation and keep the federal government out of the relationships between you and your doctor,” Thompson said.

Thompson told the crowd at a Waukesha rally Thursday that the day the U.S. lost its AAA credit rating, he realized he should run to change the way Washington works.

“Ladies and gentlemen, America is in trouble,” Thompson said. “America’s tax code is 10 times the length of the Bible, and it is far less inspirational.”

Thompson also promised to take up education and welfare reforms and job creation. He said he would also work to reshape energy policy.

Some conservatives also said his record as governor and as President George W. Bush’s first Health and Human Services secretary is too moderate and not in line with the Republican Party.

After leaving the stage Thursday and thanking supporters, Thompson offered a single message for anyone who says he can’t win in a tea party Republican world.

“I say just get the hell out of the way, because I’m going to win. And you can say all you want, and all the tearing down, all the criticism. The truth of the matter is, ideas are going to prevail,” Thompson said.

Thompson said the trouble with modern politics is no one works across the aisle anymore.

The other two Republicans also seeking the nomination are state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann.

Neumann said he plans to offer dozens solutions to shrink government spending that haven’t been discussed.

“Did you know that we have a liaison office that coordinates between Washington, D.C.? We spend millions of dollars every year on that, and it shouldn’t be there,” Neumann said.

Fitzgerald released a statement welcoming Thompson to the race Thursday.

“I look forward to debate with Tommy and others seeking our party’s nomination,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “The people of Wisconsin will send someone to Washington, D.C., who is committed to ending the out-of-control spending.”

On the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin is in the race.