UPDATED--Wednesday, November 7, 2012--4:40p.m.
MADISON--It was late last night before Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin claimed victory. "It was an exciting evening, a dramatic evening," she said. "I practiced my remarks in case I won, I practiced my remarks in case I lost."
It was an intense battle between Baldwin and one of Wisconsin's political heavy weights: Former Governor Tommy Thompson.
And one that at times turned nasty. "I knew when I decided to step forth and run for the United States Senate that there would come a time in the campaign where there would be name calling," she said.
But now that the votes have been cast--both last night in her speech and in her interview today--she spoke of a personal connection the two share: "I still remember the first time I ever met Tommy," she said during her speech Tuesday night. "I explained to the governor that I was Joe Baldwin's daughter and that I had never met him before my father passed away. Tommy's face lit-up, he had known my father in college and he would delight in sharing some small remembrance every time I saw him and that meant the world to me."
When we asked if there was bad blood between them after this fight, she said she respect's Thompson's public service, "and I expect that we will remain friends," she said.
As for what comes next for the Senator-Elect, Baldwin's victory is notable for two milestones: she becomes Wisconsin's first female U.S. Senator and the first openly gay person to serve in Congress' upper chamber. "There's an expression I've used in this campaign: that if you're not in the room the conversation is about you, if you're in the room the conversation is with you," she said. "And that will change in this next U.S. Senate."
But the Senator-Elect says she didn't run to make history, she ran to make a difference. And her to-do-list includes pushing for a broader manufacturing agenda. "I don't believe you can have an economy built to last where it's not based on a strong manufacturing sector, right, where you don't make things," she said. "Wisconsin I think can really take the lead."
Wednesday, November 7, 2012--2:40p.m.
MADISON--Just hours removed from her election night victory, Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin sat down one-on-one with us to talk about what comes next, now that the campaign is over.
She said one thing she really wants to do for Wisconsin when she arrives in the Senate in January, is fight for the creation of a broader manufacturing agenda. Throughout the campaign Baldwin frequently made the assertion that Wisconsin is a state that makes things. "I've already been successful in passing bipartisan legislation to reign in some of China's cheating with regard to the paper industry," said Baldwin. "But there's a lot more to do. I don't believe you can have an economy built to last where it's not based on a strong manufacturing sector, where you don't make things and so Wisconsin I think can really take the lead."