Thompson files U.S. Senate candidacy papers
MILWAUKEE - Republican Tommy Thompson filed a statement of candidacy Tuesday allowing his U.S. Senate campaign committee to raise and spend money.
In a move aimed at winning conservatives, Thompson told supporters he signed an Americans For Tax Reform pledge to not raise taxes.
"His signing of this pledge is a commitment to the people of Wisconsin and the American taxpayers that he will fight against tax increases," said Thompson campaign spokesperson Darrin Schmitz.
Candidates are already competing to convince the Republican base that they are the most conservative.
"It's about who is actually going to get the job done, balancing the budget, creating jobs, getting government out of the way," candidate Mark Neumann told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and State Senator Frank Lasee (R-De Pere) have also filed campaign papers.
"In Republican primaries, more conservative candidates win," Lasee said. "I have a long track record in the Wisconsin State Legislature as a conservative."
But, many top Republicans are reluctant to commit to any candidate.
"I think it's going to be one heck of a primary and I'm anxious to see how it all shakes out," said Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.
Democrats are quick to draw attention to an already divided Republican primary contest.
Mayor Tom Barrett said "you've got the tea party element of the Republican party, then you have people like Tommy who have been around for a long time and the question for him is, is he far enough to the right?"
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is the only Democrat in the race.