Wisconsin: Tommy Thompson Writes Big Check to His Senate Campaign

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 18, 2012 at 5:20pm

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) has contributed $832,000 in personal funds to his Senate campaign, according to an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Thompson, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush, has been relatively cash-strapped since surviving a bruising four-way August primary, during which he contributed more than $700,000 of his own money to his campaign via a combination of donations and loans in the closing days of that race.

Earlier in August, Thompson had told the Journal Sentinel that he didn’t think it was “right” for candidates to self-finance their campaigns, saying, “I don’t think that people should buy an election with their own wealth.” But in his meeting with the paper posted today, Thompson said his Democratic opponent, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, has benefited significantly from raising money out of state and that he had no “power base” from which to fundraise.

Roll Call reported earlier that Thompson’s campaign had been struggling to get airtime against Baldwin throughout September and had not yet made its own ad reservations for the final two weeks of the general election campaign.

Of course, outside groups flush with cash have been pouring resources into Wisconsin, where a Marquette University Law School poll released Wednesday found Thompson leading Baldwin by 1 point. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is tentatively slated to spend almost $3 million in the state, and American Crossroads is scheduled to pitch in another $3 million in addition to the $5 million already spent by Crossroads GPS.

The closer the polls, the more funding that could come the Badger State’s way.

Thompson, who is set to debate Baldwin this evening, had trailed the Democrat by $1.5 million in cash on hand before his donation, and the Journal Sentinel reported that the Republican believes he now has enough money to last through the end of the election.

Thompson’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.

UPDATE: This post has been updated to reflect a clarification in the original Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report and a clarification issued from the Thompson campaign to Roll Call indicating that Thompson has only contributed a total of $832,000 to his race so far.