Trailing in the polls, former Gov. Tommy Thompson went on the attack Friday night against U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin in their first debate for the U.S. Senate race.
Republican Thompson portrayed his Democratic opponent as a “taxer and a spender” who is outside the mainstream, according to WisPolitics.com.
My opponent is so far to the extreme even her party doesn’t pass any of her legislation," Thompson said.
The Associated Press reported that Thompson spent most of the debate on the attack, casting himself as a visionary reformer and branding Baldwin "a taxer and a spender."
"When you don't have a record, you attack the other person," he said. "I get things done. I don't criticize the other side. I make sure things happen."
Baldwin wasn't shy about taking on Thompson, WisPolitics.com reported, accusing Thompson of cutting a sweetheart deal with drug companies while he was Health and Human Services secretary.
“My opponent has taken on powerful special interests as clients,” Baldwin said. “So ask yourself tonight: Who is better to represent the middle class?”
Throughout the debate, Thompson returned to his record as governor for nearly a decade and a half and dismissed Baldwin as far to the left of the state's voters, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
"We cut taxes. We changed welfare, giving people hope and opportunity. We built Wisconsin," Thompson said.
Baldwin painted herself as a "voice for the people, not the powerful," the newspaper said.
The debate, sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcaster Association, comes with about five weeks left before the Nov. 6 election. Recent polls show Thompson trailing Baldwin for the seat that will be vacated by the retirement of U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl.
In August, Thompson had a 9 percentage point lead over Baldwin in a Marquette University Law School poll. The latest Marquette poll, released Sept. 19, show Thompson now trailing by 9 points. Other polls in the last two weeks also have Baldwin in the lead.