Thursday, July 12, 2012

Any Walker Role in Senate Primary?

Pardon me as I take a moment to totally speculate.

Recent polls show that Eric Hovde's deep pockets and endless ads are making a difference in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.  That dynamic has also created increasing hostility between the Tommy Thompson and Hovde campaigns.  I imagine that the shots will only increase as Hovde continues to spend his fortune.  If this remains a close two person race all the way until the primary then any development could change the outcome.

Lately I've been wondering where Walker and his cronies come down in the Republican primary. Obviously I don't expect Scott Walker to endorse anyone in a Republican primary but there are subtle moves that could signal his cult-like following to go one way or the other.

Going into this primary I've just assumed that anyone associated with Walker would work against Tommy Thompson.  It isn't a secret that Walker and his cronies were not big fans of Tommy & Friends.

  • Going all the way back to Walker's time in the state legislature, he was known for being more interested in promoting himself rather than actually getting things done. He had a history of repeatedly undercutting Governor Thompson's agenda.  He was more interested in getting publicity and flaunting his stubborn toddler approach to public policy (some things never change).  
  • That toddler approach quickly endeared him to the loud mouths on right wing radio.  Back in those days Walker's PR firm at Journal Inc. began their practice of constantly promoting his political career.  We all know that his PR agent, Charlie Sykes, was not a fan of Tommy Thompson either.  Remember when Sykes wrote a very nasty column in 2006, saying that Tommy should "Know when to fold 'em"? 
  • Some referenced this Tommy vs. Walker rift when longtime Thompson aide Jim Klauser did everything he could to recruit and promote anyone but Walker for governor.  The Walker cult viciously attacked him for doing that and he later surrendered. 
When Eric Hovde got in the race I assumed that Walker and his cronies were probably supporting him in the Republican primary.

So will Walker and his oldest cronies take this opportunity to stick it to Tommy Thompson one last time or will they sit by and let things simply run their course?  After all, many of the same corporate elite in Wisconsin that supported Walker are now supporting Thompson (including fawning billionaire Diane Hendricks).  In addition the Walker administration did bring on more Tommy-era people, sometimes at the perceived expense of his most loyal cronies.  So who knows for sure?  But one thing is certain, in an increasingly hostile two person race any Walker role could make a big difference.

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