By Chris Cillizza
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Monday, August 13, 2007
Former Wisconsin governor Tommy G. Thompson dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination last night, a day after finishing sixth in the straw poll in Ames, Iowa.
Thompson had pledged to leave the race if he did not finish first or second in Saturday's straw poll. His showing reflected the fact that, though he devoted considerable time to campaigning in Iowa, traveling to all 99 counties, he never generated excitement among Republican activists for his candidacy.
"I have no regrets about running," Thompson said in a statement released by his campaign. "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, but I respect the decision of the voters."
Thompson, 65, served four terms as governor of Wisconsin and, after the election of President Bush, joined his cabinet as health and human services secretary for the first term. He had been seen as a possible presidential candidate in 1996, after Wisconsin enacted major reform of its welfare program, but he chose not to challenge then-Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (Kan.) for the GOP nomination.
This time around, Thompson laid the groundwork for a presidential run early on. He began meeting with grass-roots officials in Iowa months before he declared his candidacy on April 1.
His departure from the GOP race leaves eight declared candidates, with a ninth -- former senator Fred Thompson (Tenn.) -- expected to join them next month.