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Wisconsin U.S. Senate race has candidates aiming to replace Kohl

October 18, 2012

Tammy Baldwin (right) and Amy Klobuchar (right).
Tammy Baldwin (right) visits the South Fork Cafe to talk to community members about issues that she cares about in River Falls. With her was Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. (Brittany Flatten/Student Voice)

Republican Tommy Thompson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin’s candidates for U.S. Senate, vie to replace retiring Senator Herb Kohl in what has been a very tight race thus far.

According to a Marquette University Law School poll from Oct.17, Thompson leads Baldwin 46 percent to 45 percent.

The polls conducted for this race have shown ups and downs for both candidates since the August primaries, but the results have always been very close.

Both candidates have held positions in government before and hope that what they accomplished in those positions will only help them in this election.

Baldwin has served as a U.S. representative for Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District since 1999. She also served as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1993 to 1999.

Tommy Thompson
Tommy Thompson, Republican candidate for U.S. senator in Wisconsin.

Thompson served as the 42nd governor of Wisconsin from 1987 to 2001 and was the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2005 under the George W. Bush administration. Thompson was also a candidate for president in 2008, but dropped out early after not doing very well in the polls.

Thompson argues that he accomplished great things while in office and believes that he is the perfect candidate to get things done in Washington.

UW-River Falls Associate Professor of Political Science Neil Kraus believes that Thompson may have an edge on Baldwin as far as name recognition goes.

“Somewhat middle-aged people and older are going to remember Thompson, and while younger voters might not know much about him, they have probably heard their parents talk about him.”

Baldwin made an appearance at the South Fork Café in River Falls last Friday with the Minnesota candidate up for re-election for U.S. Senate,  Amy Klobuchar. They met with people and Baldwin spoke briefly on her goals and views on a few issues. They were in Hudson, Wis. before coming to River Falls and also visited Spring Valley, Wis.

Kraus explained that Baldwin has only represented the Madison area and a few suburbs around it, while Thompson has represented the entire state and has the name recognition. Therefore, it seems as though Baldwin may be campaigning more because she needs to get her name out there.

UWRF College Republicans Vice Chair Hannah Carlson believes that the name recognition definitely gives Thompson an edge in this election. She says that he was very popular when he was governor and hopes that many of the people who voted for him then will stand with him now.

Both Baldwin and Thompson have strong platforms and very different views on many issues.
Baldwin’s official campaign website, tammybaldwin.com, states that she is devoted to fighting for Wisconsin families and has been her whole life. She wants to put the middle class first and fight for a fairer economy.

She firmly believes that people with $1 million incomes should not pay a lower tax rate than middle class families. For Baldwin, access to affordable health care is crucial to middle class security. Baldwin voted for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and opposes its repeal.

To reduce spending, Baldwin would take away subsidies to big corporate farms, bring troops home from Afghanistan and reduce the cost of prescription drugs under Medicare by ending taxpayer give-aways to the pharmaceutical industry.

Baldwin said she will fight to protect Social Security benefits and preserve and strengthen Medicare.

With social issues like gay marriage, abortion, etc., she is pro-choice and a major advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. She states that fairness, equality and opportunity are at the core of who we are as a state and nation.
If elected, Baldwin will be the first openly gay U.S. Senator.

One of Baldwin’s main topics is education. She said that providing everyone a quality, affordable education is the most important thing we can do to compete and win in the global economy.

“The access that young people have to education is key to moving our economy forward,” said Baldwin. “We are not going to grow an economy built to last unless we adequately provide the opportunity for higher education.”

Tommy Thompson’s official campaign website, tommyforwisconsin.com, states that he “believes we can restore America by rebuilding our economy through bold reforms, innovative solutions and commonsense conservative leadership.”

Thompson’s immediate priority in the U.S. Senate will be to repeal Obamacare and restart health care reform deliberations from a clean slate.

He wants to reform taxes by addressing the spending and debt crisis, simplify taxation for individuals and spurring the economy through a pro-growth corporate tax policy.

On the social issues, Thompson is on the other side of the fence from Baldwin. He says he is pro-life and that his values reflect the traditional values of Wisconsin families. He does support abortion exclusions for the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest. Thompson is opposed to same-sex marriage.

He believes the United States should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, wants to see our country become independent from foreign oil and plans to introduce legislation that will require additional employee contributions to health insurance and retirement in order to bring those benefits more in line with the private sector.

Thompson is a strong advocate for education, and argues that he did more than any other governor to expand educational opportunities for inner-city families, and helped to bring about school choice and school-to-work programs.

UWRF student Will Litzer, is informed about the candidates and their positions, but he thinks that other students may not be.

“It really comes down to students wanting to be informed. This is a tight race, but I hear more talk about the candidates among the general public then I do among students.”

Litzer also believes that some Minnesota students may choose to go home to vote or fill out an absentee ballot in order to have their vote count on some of the Minnesota issues so maybe that is why some of the UWRF students seem to be uninformed about the Wisconsin candidates.

To find out more information about the candidates and their platforms, visit their official campaign websites.