Herb Kohl (D-WI) has served as a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin since January 1989. Several years ago, he was listed as one of the richest U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill. On March 12, 2011, Kohl announced that he would be retiring at the end of this term and not running for re-election.
Control of the Senate is vitally important to both parties in this year’s election. Democrats are trying to maintain control of the Senate and Republicans are trying desperately to win enough seats to give them control of both the Senate and the House.
Running for the Senate seat for the GOP is former Governor Tommy Thompson. Thomson served as Wisconsin governor from 1987 to 2001 when he was appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. In 2008, he started a run for the White House, but soon dropped out of the race due to low numbers.
Thompson’s opponent is Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Baldwin, first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 is the first openly lesbian member of Congress. She has been quite vocal about gay rights and takes every chance she has to promote them and push for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Earlier this month, LPAC, a pro-lesbian super PAC announced that they were endorsing Baldwin and promised to match donations for her campaign up to $50,000. Sarah Schmidt, chair and treasurer of LPAC described Baldwin, saying:
“She is a champion of women’s rights, LGBT equality, and fights for poor and middle class Americans. And, she is under attack from anti-women, anti-choice, and anti-equality forces.”
Peter LaBarbera, founder and president of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality described Baldwin differently, saying:
“She’s a hardcore lesbian activist. Tammy Baldwin represents everything that conservatives — conservative Christians, especially — oppose. And yet, here she is as the nominee now for the Democratic Party. It sure is a far cry from Harry Truman.”
When asked about the race for the Senate seat, LaBarbera replied:
“I think Tommy Thompson has a great chance to beat her. I really don’t want Tammy Baldwin ever rising to become the first open lesbian senator in the U.S. Senate. There may have been others who weren’t open about it, but it’s just shocking that this radical left-winger is the standard bearer for the Democratic Party in Wisconsin.”
The latest polls indicate that Thompson has around an 8 point lead over Baldwin at the moment, but a lot can happen in two months. If you live in Wisconsin, I urge you to do whatever you can to help Thompson defeat Baldwin. If you know of anyone in Wisconsin, urge them to do likewise. If Baldwin wins in November, she will not only be the first openly lesbian member of the U.S. Senate, but she will be in a stronger position to push for gay rights and legalization of same-sex marriages.