Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tommy Thompson Drops Out of Presidential Race

CNN and Local TV are reporting that Tommy Thompson is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination. It was predicted here first.

From the CNN site:

Thompson, who also served in the Bush Cabinet, did not meet the expectations he
set for himself in the Ames Republican straw poll held Saturday.

"I want to thank the people of Iowa who were welcoming and supportive as well as my volunteers and contributors from around the country," Thompson said in a written statement.

Thompson, former secretary of Health and Human Services, had hoped to place second in the poll. Instead, he finished sixth.

Speaking to reporters Sunday, he smiled and said he simply needed to accept that he "lost."

"There's no sense in looking back," he said.

In his statement, Thompson said he had "no regrets about running."

"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," he said.

"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."

Thompson had raised just over $890,000 dollars for his campaign as of June 30, according to the Federal Election Commission. That total was ninth among GOP candidates.

Update: I published before I added my thoughts about Romney's win. I've participated with others in calling his win a hollow victory. But I'm reconsidering. His win didn't occur on Saturday--it happened in early June when Giuliani and McCain recognized that they couldn't compete. Romney has been advertising heavily in Iowa for months and months. No other GOP candidates have advertised on television at all, to my knowledge.

The figure of $5 million has been named as the amount Romney spent on the Straw Poll--but it really is the amount he has spent to be the clear leader in Iowa. He forced Giuliani and McCain to abandon the Straw Poll; he may well force them to abandon Iowa altogether, or simply put in token effort. If the other leaders--Fred Thompson, Giuliani, and McCain--effectively pull out of Iowa, conceding the state to Romney, they will also allow a space for Huckabee to finish prominently in the first caucus.

If he were to finish a robust fifth place it would be no big deal. A second place finish could give him a big boost. But I think he has a shot at first, or a least a close second. He is an attractive candidate who typically appears thoughtful and comfortable in his skin. Romney comes across wooden and programmed. Maybe Iowa GOP voters will have a surprise in them come January. (Or December.)