Tommy Thompson is optimistic heading into Tuesday’s U.S. Senate election against Democrat Tammy Baldwin, saying today that polls don’t capture the enthusiasm behind Republicans.
As Baldwin was speaking to an estimated 18,000 people gathered to hear President Barack Obama in Madison, Thompson was touring the state with Gov. Scott Walker.
A Marquette Law School poll last week showed Baldwin leading Thompson 47 percent to 43, within the margin of error.
Speaking at Mid-City Steel in La Crosse, the former four-term governor said in the past several days he’s traveled more than 1,200 miles, lost his voice and hit a deer in his quest to win the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl.
Walker said western Wisconsin did well under Thompson as governor and will prosper again if he’s elected to the Senate.
Walker said the election will come down to leadership.
“If you want leaders who can work across party lines, leaders who can create more jobs and can actually balance budgets and get things done, the choice is clear,” he said. “Tommy Thompson did it in Wisconsin. Mitt Romney did it in the state where he was governor.”
Both men said momentum from this summer’s recall election — which Walker won easily — will carry over for Republicans this fall.
“It awoke a sleeping giant,” Walker said.
Baldwin said the election offers a choice between two visions of America, and she and Obama are fighting for the middle class.
Baldwin was the last speaker at a Monday rally near the Capitol before rocker Bruce Springsteen and Obama.
She said the difference between her and Obama's vision and that of Mitt Romney and Thompson is that the Democrats are fighting for the middle class and Republicans are looking out for special interests.
She says "we need a senator and a president who will fight for us."
Baldwin says the election offers a chance to "finish what we started."
Thompson joked while talking to workers at the La Crosse steel fabricator that he got a deer even before the season opener. Actually it was one of his campaign cars; he said he was riding in the bus behind it when the crash happened early Sunday near Shawano.
“Nobody was hurt,” he said. “It did a lot of damage. I think the deer was named Tammy Baldwin, but I’m not sure.”