Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson has opted not to launch a comeback campaign following a meeting with former President Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Thompson, 80, was elected to four consecutive terms beginning in 1986 and was reportedly mulling a comeback bid to oust Democrat incumbent Gov. Tony Evers.
According to The Washington Examiner:
“This is a very difficult conclusion,” Thompson said in a statement. “After a full life of service and leading and growing businesses, I know I have the vision, drive and vitality to serve another term as governor.”
Thompson floated the idea of running for his old post in February and met with Trump in Mar-a-Lago in Florida earlier this month. He decided against running after meeting with another possible candidate, businessman Tim Michels. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last week that the meeting was to discuss which of them should enter the race, though Thompson brushed off the speculation.
Thompson said that despite ruling out the governorship, he is “open and will continue to investigate how I may otherwise serve.”
Thompson left his position as governor in 2001 to be former President George Bush’s secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. He was most recently interim president of the University of Wisconsin system.
The three Republican candidates include Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, state Rep. Tim Ramthun, and consultant Kevin Nicholson. Trump has not endorsed anyone in the race yet.
Thompson’s received widespread notoriety within the GOP for turning Wisconsin into a role model for welfare reform.