Tommy Thompson Drops Out After Straw Poll

While John Podhoretz, Steve Bainbridge and I have proclaimed the Iowa Straw poll meaningless, apparently former Wisconsin governor and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson didn’t get the memo. He’s dropped out after coming in sixth.

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson said Sunday he is dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination after finishing sixth in an Iowa straw poll.

“I have no regrets about running,” he said in a statement released Sunday evening by his campaign. “I felt my record as Governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of Health and Human Services gave me the experience I needed to serve as president, but I respect the decision of the voters. I am leaving the campaign trail today, but I will not leave the challenges of improving health care and welfare in America.”

The statement was issued several hours after WITI-TV in Milwaukee reported that Thompson, 65, told one of its reporters he was withdrawing. “I have very much enjoyed my years in public service and I am comforted by the fact that I think I made a difference for people during that time,” Thompson said in the campaign announcement. “I hope to continue working to serve others over the next few years.”

That he came in ahead of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson apparently offered him insufficient consolation to carry on.

The loss of The Other Thompson from the race is inconsequential, in that no one considered him a serious prospect to win the nomination. (I haven’t even bothered creating a category tag for him.) That he’s arguably the most qualified candidate in the Republican field is irrelevant; his Democratic counterpart Bill Richardson can feel his pain. Neither, apparently, has that special something that people are looking for in a president.

Sill, while Bainbridge’s mostly sarcastic condescension is misplaced, he’s right that, “We need a meaningful reexamination of the Presidential process in which the parochial interests of three otherwise rather unimportant states are not allowed to preempt what is in the national interest.”

It’s just silly to place so much emphasis on Iowa, let alone this far out. The idea that Tom Tancredo and Mike Hackabee should be taken seriously because they were able to get some people with nothing better to do on a Saturday to get on a bus and drive to Ames is simply bizarre. Especially given this ridiculous attitude:

“It’s just like going out on a date,” said Iowa GOP Chairman Ray Hoffmann. “If you want to meet someone, you have to make an effort to talk to them.” As for this year’s missing suitors, he added, “If they don’t show up, we feel a little bit neglected.”

It’s bad enough that people look for a president they want to have a beer with. Now we’re supposed to date them?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kent says:

    It’s bad enough that people look for a president they want to have a beer with.

    If that’s true, we can write Romney off right now.

  2. floyd says:

    He did what he promised to to do, so he was probably not qualified anyway![lol]