Posted: October 31, 2007 5:35 PM
Thompsons Hit the Rocky Top and Golden State
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson is campaigning in California over the next few days in his first trip to the state as a presidential candidate. Although Thompson is lagging in polls there, he has picked up the backing of several key conservative state lawmakers, including Tom McClintock, an outspoken critic of moderate Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports, “Among those endorsing Thompson were Republican state Sens. Jim Battin of La Quinta (Riverside County), Sam Aanestad of Grass Valley (Nevada County) and George Runner of Lancaster (Los Angeles County), all of whom were among the Republican senators who opposed Schwarzenegger’s budget for more than two months this summer. Republican Assemblymen John Benoit of Palm Desert (Riverside County), Tom Berryhill of Modesto (Stanislaus County) and Chuck DeVore, the GOP whip from Irvine, also backed Thompson’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination.”
A recent field poll shows former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani leading in California with 25 percent. He is followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 13 percent, and Arizona Sen. John McCain and Thompson each with 12 percent.
Thompson will be raising funds without his campaign finance chairman, Thomas Bell Jr., who stepped down Tuesday because of his “own business commitments,” according to the Washington Post.
Thompson’s wife, Jeri, has been spending time on the trail, as well, though the experience is like “walking down the street with no clothes on,” she was quoted as saying in a profile published across the pond in the Sunday Times. In it, Jeri Thompson is described as “playing a crucial role in shoring up support for her husband. She has been leading contacts with Christian conservative leaders, who view the 6ft 6in former senator for Tennessee and former Hollywood actor as the most likely mantle bearer for their pro-life, pro-family views. It is Jeri, as much as Fred, who has been winning them over.”
Closer to home, Jeri Thompson attended the Alabama Federation of Republican Women’s Convention last week. “When we come here, it feels like home,” Jeri Thompson said, according to the Huntsville Times.
Fred Thompson was born in Sheffield, Ala., and grew up just over the state border in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., which explains why a band at the convention played the old Tennessee standard, ‘Rocky Top,’ while she danced with their daughter, Hayden.