Tommy Thompson falls short in U.S. Senate race

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Premiere Date: 
November 8, 2012

Tommy Thompson falls short in U.S. Senate race

Zac Schultz gets reaction to Tommy Thompson's defeat in the U.S. Senate election.

Episode Transcript

Zac Schultz: Throughout the evening, glum faces filled the ballroom where Tommy Thompson had scheduled his victory party. Tommy Thompson: I love you. I love you. Thank you. Zac Schultz: By the time he took the stage to concede, the crowd had considerably slimmed, down to about 100 of his most loyal followers, many of whom he could thank by name. Tommy Thompson: I see Mary Panzer and Sheehan Donoghue and Alberta Darling. Zac Schultz: Thompson repeated that he only got in this race because he believed he could make a difference. Tommy Thompson: And I don't need anything more on my resume because I've already accomplished more than anybody from Elroy ever thought I could. Zac Schultz: Thompson also addressed what most assumed, his political career is over. Tommy Thompson: I'm not going to run again. Zac Schultz: There was a lot of emotion in the room tonight, and quite a few tears, including some from former governor Thompson. But it wasn't about sadness at losing a race. It was at seeing the end of a political career and a legacy for a man who served Wisconsin for a long time. After leaving the stage, Thompson spent nearly an hour hugging and thanking supporters. Tommy Thompson: It's pretty near impossible to describe my emotions. I love this state, and I love this country. Zac Schultz: Thompson served as governor of Wisconsin for 14 years, before leaving to join the Bush administration. He flirted with a return to Wisconsin politics in 2006 and 2010, before finally deciding to run for this senate seat. But things had changed in those 12 years away. A man who was once the toast of the Republican party found himself under attack as too moderate in a heated primary. Then he found an opponent in Tammy Baldwin who was able to take his time in the private sector and turn it against him. Announcer: He's not for you anymore. Zac Schultz: However, his wife Sue Ann says he will not regret his decision to run. Sue Ann Thompson: Well, it meant a lot to him to be able to-- to live out his dream of trying to make a difference again in Wisconsin. Zac Schultz: It's unlikely this loss will change the way people remember him down the road. Brian Schimming: I don't think he'll come out of this personally tarnished because people know, even folks who have been political opponents for him over the years, people know how much good he's done in the state. But sometimes voters make a separate decision. Mary Panzer: Tommy was a great cheerleader for this state, and his ultimate legacy will be how diverse a group of people he led down the road, wasn't afraid to take the risk to get there. Tommy Thompson: May the road always rise– Zac Schultz: Thompson closed his time at the podium with an emotional delivery of one of his favorite sayings, the Irish Blessing. Tommy Thompson: And may the sunshine warm upon your forehead and the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. God love you. God love Wisconsin. And God love the United States of America.

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