The two-week gap between major primary contests may have just changed the dynamics of the Republican presidential nomination contest.
No, we're not talking about the current feud between front-runner Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Rather, the extra time has allowed Ohio Gov. John Kasich—who is mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination—to set up shop in the next major contest state, Wisconsin.
And in doing so, he's putting himself in a position to play a major spoiler to both Trump and Cruz.
His latest coup in his quest to play spoiler, force the nomination to a contested national convention, and win over delegates in his home state, Kasich is enlisting the help of one of the Badger State's most iconic politicians. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who served as governor from 1987 to 2001 before joining George W. Bush's first administration as secretary of health and human services, is campaigning heavily on Kasich's behalf.
"A vote for Ted Cruz or Donald Trump is a vote for Hillary. It's pretty simple math. If either of them becomes our nominee, Hillary will be in the White House," he wrote in a recent fundraising email sent out by the Kasich campaign. "Need proof? Six national polls released in just the last week all say the same thing: Gov. John Kasich is the ONLY Republican who can defeat Hillary Clinton this fall.
"We're just one week away from Wisconsin's Primary and if we want to win the presidency and also ensure that we keep the majorities in the Senate/House, it's critical that we support John Kasich RIGHT NOW."
Thompson, who is currently Wisconsin's longest-serving Republican governor, flirted briefly with a presidential bid in 2008. He ran unsuccessfully in 2012 for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, the first time he ever suffered a statewide defeat in his home state.
He remains immensely popular with Republicans, and will likely serve as a pull for many moderate GOP voters who may have otherwise been considering Cruz, based on the recent endorsement of Gov. Scott Walker.
Thompson served in the Wisconsin General Assembly for more than 20 years before taking over as governor, moving up the ranks of Republican leadership in the House of Representatives. He earned the nickname "Dr. No" from Democrats who were frustrated by his often-successful attempts to block their liberal agenda.
His popularity in Wisconsin stems from the state's overhaul of its welfare system during his tenure as governor, and the fact he cut taxes more than 90 times during his four terms in office. He signed legislation that cut personal income taxes three times, as well as a bill that trimmed $1.2 billion in property taxes.
The Wisconsin Primary will be held Tuesday, April 5.
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