Former Libertarian Ed Thompson May Hold Balance of Power in Wisconsin Senate

While IPR does not make it a habit to report on major party candidates, Ed Thompson may be a good exception to the rule. In 2002 he ran for Governor of Wisconsin as a Libertarian, winning 12% of the vote. His campaign was the most successful Libertarian gubernatorial race in the party’s history.

Today, Thompson is a Republican. After spending several years in Tomah city government, he is now challenging a Democrat for a spot in the State Senate. However, he still appears to maintain his libertarian streak as a Republican.

There is serious discussion in Wisconsin that Thompson could win the seat. If he does that, it could have major implications for state politics. Jack Craver notes,

A libertarian might not be as pesky for the GOP at the state level as at the national level, however, Thompson could still prove a headache for the caucus on crime policy, and I can already imagine the embarrassment he could cause during budget deliberations. Republicans spend too –– and he won’t shy away from saying it.

However, as one Republican recently put it, if the Republicans hold the Senate by one seat, Thompson could become the de facto majority leader. The party will have to court his vote on every bill, and he can stop its agenda at the wag of a finger.

And yet, a GOP majority is unlikely without a Thompson victory. The GOP only has a few places to look for pick-ups…

18 thoughts on “Former Libertarian Ed Thompson May Hold Balance of Power in Wisconsin Senate

  1. Aaron

    Ed Thompson is not a former libertarian. He is, in fact, an outspoken libertarian who is running as a Republican. The Republicans got smart and decided to recruit Ed to run.

    Please donate to his campaign at http://www.edthompson.com/. He has been endorsed by Congressman Ron Paul.

  2. Trent Hill

    Aaron Bitterman, the article is 100% correct and you know better. Don’t try to distance Ed from the LP because you think it hurts his chances. In an election year like this, it proves his anti-establishment credentials.

  3. Jason Gatties

    The headline reads “former Libertarian” and I believe all Aaron is pointing out is the fact that he’s not a “former” libertarian but current libertarian running as a republican.

    I like you Trent, but you do get testy at times.

  4. Eric Dondero

    You can be a loyal member of the Libertarian Party, fully dues-paying, and participating in LP functions, and still be a member of the Republican Party, as well.

    There’s nowheres in the US Constitution where it states that someone has to be exclusively sided with one single political party. No law, state or federal, I’m aware of that states that.

    As a matter of fact, virtually all Libertarian Party memb

  5. Eric Dondero

    All Libertarian Party members elected to State Legislatures nationwide, such as Alaska, Michigan, Vermont and New Hampshire, have “caucused” with the GOP once in office.

    Two Libertarian Party members will most likely win elections to State Legislatures this year. And at least one of them, is very likely to Caucus with the GOP. The other, says he’s been approached by the GOP to not join, but to Caucus with them. He’s holding out. But I suspect eventually he’ll follow tradition, and Caucus with the Republican majority.

  6. Gene Berkman

    Wisconsin NORML holds meetings at Ed Thompson’s restaurant, which is clearly not the norm for a Republican.

    In 2008 Ed Thompson came out for Ron Paul right after his brother Tommy Thompson dropped out of the Presidential contest.

    An Ed Thompson victory will be a victory for liberty.

  7. Trent Hill

    The headline reads “former Libertarian” and I believe all Aaron is pointing out is the fact that he’s not a “former” libertarian but current libertarian running as a republican.

    I like you Trent, but you do get testy at times.”

    Jason, Aaron and I are friends, I’m really just messing with him.
    But in the headline, capitalization between “libertarian” and “Libertarian” is lost. In the body of the story itself, it says “former Libertarian”, not “former libertarian”. So I think everything is perfectly accurate.

  8. Trent Hill

    “All Libertarian Party members elected to State Legislatures nationwide, such as Alaska, Michigan, Vermont and New Hampshire, have “caucused” with the GOP once in office. ”

    Eric Dondero has been corrected on this before. The Libertarian Party legislators in Alaska and New Hampshire created their own caucus when there were multiples and Steve Vallaincourt, one of the Libertarian Party legislators elected in New Hampshire, caucused with the Democrats.

  9. Gene Berkman

    Trent @ 10 – it pains me to agree with E.D., but when Dick Randolph & Ken Fanning served together in the Alaska legislature, they voted with the Republicans to elect a conservative Democrat as Speaker. Don’t know if this means they caucused with the Republicans, but it implies it.

  10. Gene Berkman

    On the other hand, I think that when Libertarians had 4 state representatives in New Hampshire after the 1992 elections, they formed their own caucus. LP News ran a front page picture of the 4 and identified them as the Libertarian Caucus of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

    3 of them were in fact elected with Republican nominations as well, but Andrew Borsa was elected as a Libertarian & Democrat nominee.

  11. Eric Dondero

    Bwahahahahahah! Trent Hill displays his compete and utter ignorance on the subject of elected Libertarians with his “corrections” above.

    No Sir, Vallaincourt most certainly did not “Caucus” with the Democrats. You’ve got your facts all mixed up.

    Here’s what happened. Vallaincourt WAS A DEMOCRAT. He was originally elected to the NH House, in 1998 (I believe, maybe have been 1996?) under the Democrat ticket. For whatever reason the Dems decided not to give him their nomination next time around. He opted to run on the Libertarian ticket. He won. A year into his term he decided to Caucus with the GOP, and then he ran for reelection that next cycle as a Republican.

    Now, I’ll be a bit kind to Trenty here. It’s easy to get all mixed up on Vallaincourt. He’s a strange bird indeed. And has been all over the map. So, I don’t fault him for getting his facts wrong. But wrong they are.

    He stands duly corrected.

  12. Eric Dondero

    Dead wrong on Alaska. I’ve met Ken Fanning. I’ve met Dick Randolph’s sister. I’ve met Andre Marrou multiple times. I’ve asked them each about their times in the Alaska House. and Senate They all Caucused as Republicans.

    I reference Reason Magazine, circa 1986. Andre Marrou on the front cover. Title “America’s Libertarian Legislator.” Marrou states categorically in the interview that he “Caucuses with the Republican Party.”

    Fax number Trent? I’ve got the issue somewhere’s in my garage archives. I can dig it out and fax it to you, if you’d like?

  13. Eric Dondero

    Michigan – Steve Dresch of the Upper Peninsula endorsed Andre Marrou for President in 1992, and spent the last 6 months of his term as an elected “Libertarian Party member of the House.” Though, he did not technically “leave” the GOP,” and still participated in GOP functions.

    Vermont – Neil Randall left the GOP briefly in his term and joined the Libertarian Party. But he returned soon thereafter over a disagreement with the VTLP over Gay Marriage. Randall was opposed. I remember specifically talking with him on the phone, back in the 1990s where he told me that he was always “technically” a Republican during his term.

  14. Eric Dondero

    New Hampshire – All Four elected Libertarians were elected on the Republican Party ticket. They received approx. 3 to 4 times as many votes on the GOP line as they received on the Libertarian line.

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