Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee Endorses Tommy Thompson's Bid for U.S. Senate
Huckabee said Thompson espouses all the characteristics of a true conservative and an innovator.
When former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee heard some folks were questioning former Wisconsin governor and U.S. Senate hopeful Tommy Thompson’s credentials as a conservative, he knew it was time to throw on a sweater and head to the colder climes of Wisconsin to lend his support.
On Thursday, in front of students and faculty at St. Anthony’s School of Milwaukee, Huckabee gave Thompson his ringing endorsement.
“Anybody who would challenge the conservative credentials or the authenticity of Tommy Thompson’s ability to govern is either absolutely clueless, or downright dishonest,” Huckabee said.
Thompson threw his hat in the ring Dec. 1 when he announced he would run for retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s (D-Wis.) seat. He is now in the midst of a Senate race against fellow Republicans Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon), former Congressman Mark Neumann and state Sen. Frank Lasee (R- De Pere).
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) will also run for the Democrats.
Huckabee said Thompson, who served as governor from 19987-2001, was an innovator who introduced policies that changed the welfare system through the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program and was a champion of school choice programs. Huckabee said these programs strike at the core of true conservatism.
“There are 50 states who are better off today, and the people are better off because they are empowered, not to just quit getting assistance, but to get out of assistance and onto their own two feet,” Huckabee said.
Huckabee said the only dog that sees a change of scenery is the lead dog, and said Thompson would be that lead dog and champion for change in Washington.
“If you asked anyone who served contemporaneously with Tommy Thompson, Democrat or Republican, they’ll tell you he was he go-to-guy for innovation and creativity on the policy front,” Huckabee said.
Thompson has recently come under fire from the conservative organization Club for Growth, which has attempted to link Thompson to President Barack Obama’s health care reform. The club also released a poll indicating Thompson, being too moderate, would be vulnerable to Republican challengers in a primary.
Huckabee responded to Club for Growth’s assertions by calling them the “Club for Greed” and denounced the group labeling them as a pay-for-play organization that will aim its sites on a candidate if the price is right.
Thompson said he decided to run for Senate to change the direction of the country, to do something about spending and encourage innovation, to ensure citizens can find a job. But his main reason is to create opportunity for the next generation.
“We’ve always been taught that our young people will inherit a country that has more opportunity than what we had as parents,” Thompson said. “This is the first generation that may not have those same opportunities.”
During his time as Wisconsin’s governor, Thompson said the key principle to his welfare and education reforms was giving people a choice.
“That’s the American way, and those are the ideas that we need to take to Washington,” Thompson said. “That’s why I decided to run for United States Senate.”