Tommy Thompson is vying with two other hopefuls for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat that Herb Kohl will vacate after this year. A third, state Sen. Frank Lasee, announced in late January that he was dropping out of the race.
Mark Neumann. Neumann, 57, served two terms as congressman from the state's 1st District (from Rock County east to Lake Michigan), now held by fellow Republican Paul Ryan. Neumann gave up the seat in 1998 in an unsuccessful bid to retire Democratic first-term Sen. Russ Feingold. After losing narrowly he went back to his pre-government job, building homes.
Neumann, who lives in the Waukesha County community of Nashotah, sought the GOP nomination for governor last year, losing to Scott Walker. Along the way he alienated some Wisconsin conservatives for his anti-Walker rhetoric.
He's won the endorsement of the national conservative organizing group Club for Growth, where former members of his staff are now employed.
Jeff Fitzgerald. As state Assembly Speaker, Fitzgerald, 45, of Horicon, is half of the brother act leading the GOP in the Legislature. Over the course of the stormy 2011 legislative session, he had a somewhat lower profile than his older sibling, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Jeff Fitzgerald was elected to the Assembly in 2000 and rose steadily through the Republican ranks to become speaker when the party regained control of the Assembly last year.
Campaign finance numbers released last week indicate Fitzgerald has raised less than $80,000 so far, compared with both Thompson and Neumann, each of whom raised more than six times that much in the last quarter of last year. That may be why the only apparently functioning page on Fitzgerald's campaign website is the one for people to sign up and donate.