Ed Thompson, 66 at the time of his death, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer early this morning. From his Facebook page:
Ed Thompson passed away early Saturday morning at his home in Tomah. He wanted to thank all of you for this outpouring of support this past year. Details on the visitation and funeral will follow shortly.
Thompson has a storied political history in Wisconsin. The brother of former Governor and current candidate for US Senate Tommy Thompson, Ed’s career in elected office began unexpectedly. In 2005 he was elected to the City Council of his longtime home Tomah. Thompson won 31 write-in votes in a 34-vote election; unaware of the write-in campaign, he was one of three to vote for his opponent.
Thompson won election as Mayor of Tomah in 2008. In 2010 he ran for state Senate as a Republican against Democratic incumbent Kathleen Vinehout. The race garnered significant attention, but Thompson was limited in his ability to campaign after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer two months before the election. He narrowly lost the race 50.27% to 49.61%.
Before holding office, Ed Thompson gained notoriety as a Libertarian gubernatorial candidate in 2002. He ran in a three-way race against Republican incumbent Scott McCallum and Democratic candidate and Attorney General Jim Doyle. Thompson had the strongest gubernatorial campaign of any Libertarian candidate in the history of the party; he won 11% on election day (Doyle won the race with 45% of the vote).
Although Thompson ran as a Republican for state Senate, he retained his connection with the libertarian movement. Thompson had ties to both the Campaign for Liberty and Republican Liberty Caucus. He also received the endorsement of Congressman Ron Paul, himself a former Libertarian presidential candidate.
Thompson was a veteran, enlisting in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. He also owned and operated the Tee Pee Supper Club for 19 years up to his death.
Thompson was interviewed by local reporter Mike Thompson shortly before his death. “With facing my death, the things that come to mind now for me are so different than they were, although I still run my business and I’m working at it the best I can and I deal with this illness that I have, it has absolutely no value to me,” he said. “What has value is trying to live with all the energy of this moment we’re in.”