Pubdate: Sat, 14 Sep 2002
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 2002 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Author: Kevin Murphy, Special To The Journal Sentinel


Madison - Although he attended college for only a year, gubernatorial 
candidate Ed Thompson believes his lack of old-school political ties will 
help him appeal to the 150,000 students in the University of Wisconsin System.

"Students are fresh and aren't bogged down with a lot of old ideas. They 
are open for something new, something different, someone who addresses them 
truthfully. They're idealistic, and I guess I am, too," Thompson said 
Saturday after speaking to about 200 delegates of the United Council of UW 

The Libertarian candidate told students he was taking a page from Minnesota 
Gov. Jesse Ventura's successful third-party campaign book by targeting 
students and others who typically vote in a lower percentage than the 
population as a whole.

"After (Ventura) won, I asked, 'Jesse, how did you do it?' And he said, 
'College students; college students were very key for me and the huge 
percentage of people who didn't vote at all,' " Thompson said.

Knowing that 54% of the voters sat out the last statewide election, 
Thompson is pushing themes he hopes will send those who typically haven't 
voted to the polls this fall. And on Saturday, issues such as legalizing 
the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, tying tuition increases to the 
rate of inflation and lowering the drinking age to 18 all were well 
received by students.

Some of the loudest applause Thompson received was for calling the war on 
drugs a "dismal failure."

"I worked five years in a federal penitentiary, and I guarantee you . . . 
non-violent people do not belong locked up with violent people," he said, 
instead advocating the use of electronic monitoring for drug offenders and 
treatment for addicts.

Daniel Bush, a UW-Oshkosh senior, doubted that the students would be as 
"fired up" today when Republican Gov. Scott McCallum comes to visit.

Thompson "knows how to work a crowd," Bush said, adding that being from 
Minnesota originally, he was reminded "quite a bit of when Governor Ventura 
ran four years ago. College students voted for Jesse, and they could vote 
for Thompson."

The United Council is meeting to train students to organize "get out the 
vote" events on their campuses and help dispel the myth that students don't 
vote, said Maggie Brown, the council's Legislative Affairs director.

Democratic Attorney General Jim Doyle, who is running against McCallum and 
Thompson in the Nov. 5 election, has not scheduled an appearance before the 
student group.

Poll shows dead heat

A new statewide poll by the Wisconsin Realtors Association shows McCallum 
and Doyle in a statistical tie.

According to the group's poll of 500 likely voters, conducted Sept. 7 and 
9, 37% of those surveyed said they definitely or probably would vote for 
Doyle, while 36% said they definitely or probably would vote for McCallum 
on Nov. 5.

Six percent said they definitely or probably would vote for Thompson, while 
12% were undecided, according to the poll, which was conducted by Public 
Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va. The poll has a margin of error of 
plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association's political action committee has 
contributed more to McCallum's campaign since 1999 than any other PAC, 
according to the non-partisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. McCallum 
received $39,500 from the Realtors' PAC; Doyle received $1,400 during that 

In the first six months of this year, McCallum received an additional 
$131,585 in individual contributions from the real estate industry, while 
Doyle took in $37,763 during that time.
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D