Tommy Thompson Won't run for Senate

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson speaks at the USA Today's political forum in Henderson, Nev. in this Feb. 2, 2007 file photo. As HHS Secretary Thompson had pushed to increase the number of food safety inspections, and is now part of a coalition lobbying to increase the FDA budget and turn around several years of stagnant spending on food. "The only difference is now it's worse, because there are more inspections to do - more facilities - and more food coming into America, which requires more inspections," said Thompson. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file

Former Governor Tommy Thompson announced at a Tea Party rally today that he will not run for Senate in Wisconsin.

Thompson said his family convinced him not to run, according to the Associated Press, but that the decision was not easy.

The AP reports that Thompson nearly changed his mind when a crowd chanted a call for him to run but decided not to when he saw his son and daughter shaking their heads no.

Thompson, a Republican, would likely have gone up against Sen. Russ Feingold in the general election, and Republicans saw the race as a strong opportunity to flip the seat to their side of the aisle. That becomes far less likely without Thompson in the race.

Thompson was the longtime governor of Wisconsin and then the Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush; he is a popular figure in his state.

Thompson's daughter Kelli told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that her father had wanted to jump into the race.

"The family can't do it anymore," she said. "It's too vicious. It's too hard."