Although DC lobbyist Tommy Thompson is a little long in the tooth (and thought to be somewhat senile and confused by younger Republicans) to be running for a freshman seat in the Senate, that was hardly the biggest irony of the night-- nor was his desperation yesterday in closing his campaign with endorsements from Ted Nugent and Joe the Plumber. "Dr. No," as he was known when he was minority leader of the state Assembly, lost his first run for Congress (1979) but won the governorship in 1986 and was reelected 3 times. His signature health care program, BadgerCare, is relatively progressive and very popular, although these days Republicans hate anything with the word "Care" attached to it-- and last night he was almost defeated by right-wing extremist, millionaire hedge fund bankster.
The results were pretty tight last night. Thompson took 34%, Hovde 31%, teabagger and perennial candidate Mark Neumann 23% and Jeff Fitzgerald, Walker's crony, 12%. There's been a lot of bad blood as well.
It's ironic that on the 77th anniversary of FDR signing the Social Security bill, 4 furiously anti-Social Security Republicans would cut themselves to ribbons, further helping the one staunch defender of Social Security in particular and working families in general, Tammy Baldwin. One of the most trusted political leaders in Wisconsin, state Senator Chris Larson, who helped organize the Wisconsin state Senate walkout. Last night he told us that "Tammy Baldwin is the kind of progressive leader America needs more of. The Koch brothers and their allies are already trying to tear her down. Tammy is not afraid of the fight and she never has. She knows there are strong progressives ready to stand with her to ensure our democracy is for the people and never for sale."
And that's why Blue America is getting behind Tammy's CheddarBomb today, something that Russ Feingold thought up originally but that progressives from around the country are helping out with now. Tammy worked closely with Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) on behalf of ordinary working families. As head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which Tammy is a member, Raúl observed her commitment to progressive goals and principles-- including when times were tough. "You already know Tammy Baldwin shares the values that make our movement so great and so important," he told me this morning. "What you don't know is that she's as decent and straightforward as anyone you can find in Tucson. Her friendship, advice and hard work have been a great personal and professional example of how a member of Congress represents both her constituents and her own conscience. I'm very proud of my friendship with Tammy. I'll miss her in the House of Representatives next year. But the Senate needs her more, and I couldn't be happier to support her on her way to a big win for all of us in November."
We agree and we urge everyone to dig deep today-- CheddarBomb day-- and contribute to Tammy's campaign here on the Blue America Senate page. We looked over all the candidates and all the incumbents who are running and so far our enthusiasm was only strong enough for 3 endorsements, Tammy and two others.