Government and Political Roundup: Baldwin vs. Thompson, round two, tonightWisconsin News
-- The two main candidates in an extremely tight U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin will debate each other tonight.
The two main candidates in an extremely tight U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin will debate each other tonight.
Republican Tommy Thompson regained his earlier lead over Democrat Tammy Baldwin by just one percentage point, 46-45, in the latest Marquette Law School poll released yesterday. The race is considered a dead heat, because the results are well within the poll’s three-point-four-percent margin-of-error. Tonight’s debate begins at seven o’clock from the UW-Marathon County campus in Wausau. It will be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Television and WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, and will be streamed live at several places on the Internet including the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Web site and Wisconsin Vote.org. Andy Moore of Wisconsin Public Television says the format will require Thompson and Baldwin to dig deeper into issues, beyond their normal campaign speeches.
Yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie campaigned for Thompson in Green Bay. And last night in Waukesha, 2008 GOP White House candidate John McCain and his fellow U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham were at reception for Thompson. Baldwin plans to appear with former President Bill Clinton tomorrow night in Green Bay. She’ll also be with First Lady Michelle Obama as she campaigns in Racine and Wausau during the day tomorrow. Baldwin has the financial edge, with three-and-a-half million dollars in her campaign fund at the start of October compared to two-million for Thompson. Outside groups are spending millions more on both sides. Karl Rove’s GOP group has spent five-million dollars on the Wisconsin Senate race in the last two months – and it unveiled a third major ad campaign yesterday.
A group that opposes U.S. sanctions against Iran has given almost $60,000 to Democrat Tammy Baldwin’s Senate campaign. The Council for Livable World says it has supported the Madison congresswoman ever since she first ran for Congress in 1998. Baldwin is in a neck-and-neck race with Republican Tommy Thompson for the Senate seat that’s being given up by retiring Democrat Herb Kohl. Thompson’s campaign says Baldwin’s strong ties to the Council proves that her views on national security are too extreme for state residents. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Baldwin has done a flip-flop on the subject in recent years. From 2006-through-last year, she voted against four major efforts to slap tougher sanctions against Iran. But since Baldwin started running for the Senate, she voted twice to expand existing sanctions. Baldwin spokesman John Kraus said she has supported sanctions as far back as the 9-11 attacks in 2001 – and she has a consistent record of keeping Americans safe from terrorism.
Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan dropped the ball when he misidentified a key player while visiting the NFL’s Cleveland Browns at their practice yesterday. Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, said he was impressed by Browns’ rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden – but he was pointing to back-up quarterback Colt McCoy when he said it. His teammates got a laugh out of it. Ryan recovered quickly, and changed the subject to the Browns’ victory over Cincinnati last weekend. The gaffe was somewhat reminiscent of John Kerry’s classic goof from 2004. Kerry was campaigning in Green Bay as the Democratic presidential nominee, when he called the Packers’ home stadium “Lambert Field” instead of Lambeau. Lambert Field is the airport in Saint Louis. But Ryan’s goof was not nearly as bad. He visited the practice with former Secretary-of-State Condoleezza Rice, who’s a life-long Browns’ fan. Ryan also spent a little time with Brookfield native and former Badger Joe Thomas, who became a Pro Bowl tackle with Cleveland. Ryan shared his favorite hunting spots with Thomas.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is lending some of his political capital to help a fellow Republican try to replace a Democratic governor in Missouri. Scott Walker will speak at a fund-raising lunch on Monday near Kansas City for challenger Dave Spence. Walker will also join the candidate at a rally in Jefferson City, and another fund-raiser near Saint Louis. He’s running against incumbent Jay Nixon in the November sixth elections. Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia have also come to Spence’s aid. Both are the top two officials in the Republican Governors Association.