Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) will be endorsed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) Thursday, The Hill has learned.
Giuliani will attend two
campaign fundraisers in Milwaukee with Thompson on Thursday. It's unclear if the well-known centrist
will help Thompson politically — but his fundraising prowess will won't hurt. Both events start at $50 to attend and range up to $1,000 for two seats at the head table.
The two are old allies: Thompson endorsed Giuliani's presidential campaign in 2007 after he dropped his own bid.
While Giuliani's support could help, some others seeking to "thank" him might have other goals. The Wisconsin Democratic Party is out with a tongue-in-cheek web video "thanking" him for his alleged support of President Obama's health care reforms.
"Tommy, without your support for the individual mandate and President Obama, the Affordable Care Act would not be possible," Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate says in the video before presenting a large card. "Thanks again, Tommy, for your support of President Obama and the individual mandate — the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act."
The former Wisconsin governor likely gives Republicans their best shot at the state's open Senate seat, but he faces a potentially tough primary against former Rep. Mark Neumann (R-Wis.), Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R) and businessman Eric Hovde (R). Many national conservative groups are backing Neumann in the race and have hammered Thompson as too centrist on healthcare and other issues.
Democrats have been happy to add fuel to that fire, and their "thanking" Thompson on this issue shows they'd prefer to face any other candidate.
"The Democrats are in full crisis mode with yet another poll released today showing Tommy Thompson beating Tammy Baldwin," Thompson spokesman Darrin Schmitz responded. "Thompson opposed Obamacare and the mandate, and a stunt that falsely portrays the former governor's position cannot hide the fact that Tammy Baldwin's liberal tax and spend agenda has created record debt and is destroying jobs in America.” "
Thompson praised early versions of the healthcare reform bill but criticized the final bill before it passed.
Watch the Democrats' video:
This post was updated at 5:32 p.m.