Tommy Thompson meets with Trump as rumors swirl of another run for governor
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Thursday former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson met with former President Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago.
The meeting comes amid swirling rumors Thompson is weighing another run for the state's highest office.
Sources were tight-lipped about the meeting, saying it was not focused on an endorsement, but simply on Wisconsin politics.
Thompson certainly has name recognition with some voters, but many new voters weren't even born when the now-80-year-old last served as governor.
For months Wisconsin Republicans have been looking for clues as to what Thompson will decide. The meeting Thursday added more fuel to the fire, but sources close to Thompson aren't talking.
Thompson and Trump do have a history. Thompson stumped for then-candidate Trump in Waukesha back in 2016, telling the crowd at the time, “It’s time to get on the train. The Trump train is moving, we need you on the Trump train!”
In his remarks that day, Trump said, "And thank you, by the way, to Tommy Thompson."
Last fall Trump called on former Congressman Sean Duffy to run for governor, but Duffy announced in January he would not seek the office. That leaves Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson, and Timothy Ramthun as the most visible Republicans in the primary.
Thompson is already the longest-serving governor in state history, having held the office for 14 years and 28 days. But he left the office more than 21 years ago, and faces a very different Republican electorate than when he last campaigned.
If Thompson runs and wins, he would be 11 days shy of his 81st birthday on election night. Only one person was older when elected governor of Wisconsin: Walter Samuel Goodland was nearly 84 when he was re-elected in 1946.
Back in January, CBS 58 Capital Bureau Chief Emilee Fannon pressed Thompson point-blank about his political future, asking, "Would you ever consider running for governor?” Thompson said, “I'm sure there will be a lot of individuals who suggest what I do. I’ll take a look at it and listen to them. I’m going to take the month of April, look around and find out what I really want to do."
And in mid-March, Thompson again deflected when asked about a run for governor, again saying he'd decide sometime in April.
Representatives for Thompson said he was unavailable Thursday.
Candidates have until June 1st to file to get on the ballot. The primary election is on August 9th.