GREEN BAY — With a little less than three weeks until Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin go head-to-head at the ballot box, the two are in a tight race for the open U.S. Senate seat.
Former longtime Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson holds high name recognition throughout the state.
But Tammy Baldwin is no push over.
She's represented Wisconsin's second congressional district since 1999. That's an area that spans from the Dells south to Beloit.
Based on name alone, many thought Thompson would easily beat Baldwin in the general election. Especially after recent state races - like governor and Wisconsin's other U.S. Senate seat - went to Republicans.
However, in a September Marquette poll Baldwin held a sizable lead over Thompson at a 50 to 41 percent margin.
But back in August, those numbers were flipped, with Thompson leading Baldwin by a 50 to 41 percent margin after a knock-down, drag-out four-way primary win.
"The Republicans in the state, in the primary, said, no we want more of Tommy. But it's really kind of a different Tommy," said retired University of Wisconsin-Green Bay political science professor David Littig.
Littig says while Tommy may have had a long history as a moderate state politician, some voters are wary of what type of politician Tommy now is.
"Maybe that's the early on, the reason why Tommy lost in that kind of shoe-in perspective that a lot of people thought."
Littig says polls show campaigns have been effective at portraying their opponent or themselves.
In the recent Marquette poll, Baldwin stands at a 32-percent favorability rating to Thompson's 37-percent favorability rating among likely voters.
Littig says voters’ minds are already made up and believes Northeast Wisconsin will play a major role in deciding which senate candidate comes out on top.
Baldwin has outraised Thompson, heading into the final month before the election.
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