Magazine article Politics Magazine

Wisconsin

Magazine article Politics Magazine

Wisconsin

Article excerpt

FOR WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS, there just isn't enough Tommy Thompson to go around. Ask party operatives who their ideal candidates for this year's open seat governor's race are and Thompson usually tops the list. Who also has the best chance to take on three-term Sen. Russ Feingold (D)? It's Thompson again.

That says one of two things--either Republicans have a supreme amount of confidence in Thompson, the former four-term governor and GOP presidential candidate, or the Republican bench is very thin. Democrat Michael Wittenwyler thinks it's the latter. "Governor Thompson's name is thrown out there every time there's an election in this state," says Wittenwyler, who managed Feingold's 1998 reelection race. "Republicans just haven't been able to muster up credible candidates."

In the Senate race, numbers from Public Policy Polling showed Feingold running ahead of Thompson in a hypothetical 2010 matchup, 50 percent to 41 percent. Against the two Republican candidates who have officially entered the race, businessmen Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake, Feingold holds double-digit leads.

"In terms of popularity, Thompson is probably the best we've got," says one Republican insider, who worked for Thompson in the governor's office. …

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