Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Will Romney’s Wisconsin VP pick have an effect on Tammy Baldwin’s run for the Senate in that state? More directly, of course, is how her recently determined Republican opponent for the Wisconsin Senate seat – Tommy Thompson – will do.
… support candidates who champion a range of issues that impact lesbians and their families, Democrat or Republican, male or female, gay or straight.
In announcing their endorsement, LPAC wrote:
This is an important and historic campaign: If elected, Tammy Baldwin would be the first openly gay member of the US Senate. She is a champion of women’s rights, LGBT equality, and fights for poor and middle class Americans. And, she is under attack from anti-women, anti-choice, and anti-equality forces.
Baldwin was already among the forty or so LGBT or LGBT supportive candidates for the U.S. Congress endorsed by eQuality Giving, whose
… mission is to grow and support an online community of donors by providing free services and strategic advice to achieve legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans.
At Bilerico, Mark Segal writes about the possible effects VP candidate Ryan could have on Baldwin’s chances. The Republicans, he writes,
… will pour buckets of cash into this race.
But there is good news. Now, almost a week into the Ryan announcement, New York Times political site FiveThirtyEight and Real Clear Politics both are still predicting Wisconsin will go for Obama … .
Baldwin’s opponent, Tommy Thompson … will now need to refresh his campaign coffers since he had a four-way primary challenge. He has a mixed record on LGBT issues, so that will not be a defining issue in the campaign. The polls at this point, considering the margin of error, puts them even. …
… Baldwin anticipated a tough campaign and has continued her fundraising. Open Secrets reports that Baldwin has over $3 million remaining in her war chest … .
Baldwin’s race is now a tough one, but it’s winnable.
Writing at The Advocate, Julie Bolcer adds this:
Thompson polled most competitively against Baldwin in the field of four, although his lead shrunk over time. According to a recent Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS poll, Thompson is tied with Baldwin among voters. …
Perceived as the establishment Republican choice, the former four-term governor’s selection breaks a pattern of Tea Party upsets in Senate primary contests this cycle including Indiana, Texas and Missouri. … Thompson, 70, and Baldwin, 50, will compete for the seat being vacated by Senator Herb Kohl, a four-term Democrat, in a contest that could determine which party controls the Senate.
Baldwin portrayed Thompson as a political insider in a statement released by her campaign after the vote.
‘I will fight to do what’s right for the middle class and Thompson will put those at the very top and the big monied special interests in Washington ahead of Wisconsin’s hard working families,’ she said.
In other words, it’s about the economy. The role that might be played in the race by LGBT equality seems to be an unknown, though as Bolcer notes,
Thompson … won a Republican field that overwhelmingly opposed key LGBT priorities. He departed from the others by not supporting a federal marriage amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In 2007, he told a presidential debate that he believed employers should be able to fire employees for being gay, but he quickly retracted the statement and later blamed his answer on a faulty hearing aid and flu symptoms.
I do think “social issues” will play a role for some voters, though the economy will surely be the key focus. What that ends up meaning in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin is obviously an unknown at this point. Whatever the polls are worth, especially this far out, a close race between Baldwin and Thompson seems like a good possibility.
(Tammy Baldwin photo via LPAC)