MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - A recent Rasmussen Poll said former Governor Tommy Thompson would beat U.S. Senate Democrat Russ Feingold 47 to 43 percent if the election was held today. But Thompson remains undecided about running. And Dave Westlake, one of the Republicans Thompson would have to beat in a primary, compares him to Brett Favre when it comes to waffling. Westlake, a Watertown businessman, says Thompson gets all the attention and, “People are sick of it here.” But Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report says Thompson would pose the strongest challenge to Feingold – and he’d “put the race in play like it isn’t today.” Duffy does not believe he’ll run, though.
The 68-year-old Thompson was the Badger State’s governor for 14 years and then served four years as George W. Bush’s Health and Human Services secretary. He’s been out of public office since 2005, but he ran a brief presidential campaign in ’08. Westlake and Madison real estate developer Terrence Wall are Feingold’s only GOP challengers at the moment. And after Scott Brown’s upset win in Massachusetts, state Republicans believe they have a real chance to capture a U.S. Senate seat for the first time in 18 years since Bob Kasten left. As a result, other names are being mentioned as possibilities if Thompson doesn’t run. They include former Congressman Mark Neumann, who’s running against Scott Walker for governor – outgoing state Senator Ted Kanavas of Brookfield – state Senator Glenn Grothman of West Bend – and Feingold’s 2004 opponent, Tim Michels.