Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin made history as the first openly gay person elected to the Senate, but what might have doomed her candidacy a few years ago proved inconsequential. What mattered was Baldwin was a fierce defense of Medicare from cuts, a sharp critic of past free trade deals and a strong advocate for continued Wall Street reform. Baldwin hammered opponent Tommy Thompson, a popular former governor and Bush administration cabinet member, for his well-paid work as a lobbyist on behalf of greedy corporate interests. She took the lead right after the Republican primary and held on to win despite a $20 million onslaught of vicious attack ads.
Her key campaign decision: To run as a self-described “proud Wisconsin progressive,” touting her support for the Affordable Care Act, financial reform legislation and the “Buffett Rule” on tax rates for millionaires, as well as her opposition to cuts in Medicare and Social Security.
Baldwin’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte stressed that wealthy people like Warren Buffett shouldn’t be paying a lower share of their income in taxes than the people who work for them, and pushed for making Wall Street and Main Street play by the same rules. Some of her campaign advertisements spoke of her own experiences with Medicare and Social Security. One of her ads against Thompson noted that he was once a consultant to a firm that that helped American companies send jobs overseas, and another included the former Health and Human Services secretary bragging at a Tea Party town hall, “Who better than me… to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?” Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton lauded her support of Obamacare and for putting people, instead of corporations, first.
The issues Baldwin campaigned on — the Buffett Rule, Obamacare, and vows to protect Medicare and Social Security — were more popular with voters than the conservative stands of her opponent. She also shed a negative light on her opponent’s post-gubernatorial record as a corporate lobbyist in a way that sharpened the contrast between her campaign on behalf of working-class people and her opponents advocacy for corporations and the wealthy.

Campaign Ad: "Addressing the DNC"

Tammy Baldwin addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, citing her fight for the Buffett Rule, more regulation of Wall Street and protecting American jobs.