Tommy Thompson May Leave GOP Presidential Race After Ames Vote

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 30, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Tommy Thompson May Leave GOP Presidential Race After Ames Vote

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 30,

Des Moines, IA ( — It’s Ames or bust for former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. The former Bush administration official, who opposes abortion but backs embryonic stem cell research funding, says that a poor showing in the August straw poll could cause him to drop out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

‘‘It’s the ballgame for me,’’ Thompson said at a weekend meeting with the Johnson County Republican Party. "I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think I could win."

Thompson said that if he doesn’t place first or second in the Ames vote, which polls make it appear highly unlikely, he indicated he would have to reassess whether to continue his campaign.

Iowa is known as the first marker in the race for both the GOP and Democratic nods and the August straw poll is the first big test of a candidate’s strength in the battleground state.

The straw poll can confirm a front-runner’s status, give a boost to a candidate in the middle of the pack, or convince candidates who remain low in the polls, like Thompson, to drop out entirely.

Thompson has made Iowa a make-or-break state and the former secretary of Health and Human Services has focused his campaigning almost exclusively on it. He has stayed at about 2-3 percent in most national polls and in Iowa as well.

A recent poll conducted by Iowa’s KCCI-TV found him getting the support of just two percent of Republicans despite his heavy campaigning in the state.

Still, Thompson is hopefully and could invest significant sums of money in the next couple of weeks to attract more support in advance of the vote.

"We don’t have any money, but we have something else. We have you," Thompson told supporters recently.

But if things don’t go well in Ames, the campaign won’t have Thompson either.