The senior political adviser for former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson’s U.S. Senate campaign posted a Twitter message questioning rival Tammy Baldwin’s suitability for the office due to her sexual orientation.
Apparently timed around Baldwin’s speech before the Democratic National Convention, the message from Brian Nemoir included a link to a video showing Baldwin dancing with the disco band VO5, whose members are dressed up in Wonder Woman costumes and playing the theme to the comic-based television series. The footage is from an August 2010 Pride event held on Library Mall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
“Clearly, there’s no one better positioned to talk ‘heartland values’ than Tammy,” Nemoir wrote sarcastically. If elected, Baldwin, who represents the Madison area in Congress, would become the first out gay person ever elected to the U.S. Senate.
Nemoir’s message was first reported by WisPolitics.com. He’s admitted sending out the tweet. Spokespeople from both campaigns have declined questions from the media about the incident.
In criticizing Baldwin over her personal life, Nemoir could be wading into dangerous territory. Thompson, who served as governor for four terms, has long been gossiped about among Madison insiders for his alleged philandering. Despite all the rumors, no former mistress yet has come forward during the campaign to tattle on him.
Thompson governed as a moderate on many issues, but he maintained a hardline position against LGBT equality throughout his long political career, which includes both holding elected office and cashing in on his connections as a high-profile Beltway lobbyist.
Thompson eliminated former Gov. Tony Earl’s Council on Lesbian and Gay Issues during his first term as governor. During a 2009 Republican primary presidential debate, he said it should be legal to fire employees based on their sexual orientation.
In 2006, Thompson refused to join the coalition of former governors who opposed amending the state Constitution to ban legal recognition of same-sex marriages and civil unions.
Nemoir’s anti-gay feelings appear to be limited only to out LGBT people. He formerly directed the controversial retention campaign of embattled Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, who is rumored to be gay.
A complaint remains open against Prosser for allegedly putting his hands on the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley during an argument last June. He has acknowledged calling Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson a “bitch” in February 2010, but says he never choked Bradley. He claims he raised his hands against her in self-defense because he believed she was going to attack him.