That’s the theory from WISN-AM’s Jay Weber unleashed this morning. For those of you who catch this “live”, Weber is exploring this in depth. For those of you who don’t and have to catch the podcast (which should be up about 8:30), the initial theory came in the first half-hour of the show, with the in-depth explanation in the third hour.
The short version of Weber’s theory – Mark Block, the state director of Americans for Prosperity and the organizer of today’s Madison Tea Party, was Thompson’s campaign manager in 1990. Thompson wouldn’t use his speaking slot at the Tea Party to simply say that he’s not running for Senate, and he wouldn’t use it to endorse former Doyle Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel. He noted that Ron Johnson, president of Pacur and founding member of the Oshkosh Tea Party, is also speaking at the Madison Tea Party, and that Johnson previously said that if Thompson wasn’t in the race, he’d jump in. He also noted that Johnson has told GOP insiders that he’s prepared to put $10 million of his own money in the race. That is important because Sen. Russ Feingold raised another $1.3 million in the first quarter with $4.26 million in the bank, and his wealthier announced challenger, Terrence Wall, put $1.2 million of his own money to match that $1.3 million raised. The bad news for Wall is he only has $1 million in the bank.
Related to that, the Oshkosh Northwestern ran a story on Johnson’s interest in the race. Johnson told the Northwestern that his children have grown up and his business is big enough for him to take a leave. His major concern is whether he can put together a campaign staff capable of giving him a legitimate chance of winning. While nearly every recent poll had Thompson beating Feingold in a hypothetical matchup, neither Wall nor Dave Westlake, the other declared candidate, were within hailing distance.