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Tommy Thompson drops out of GOP race

August 12, 2007 |  7:22 pm

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, who said he would drop out of the Republican race for president if he didn't come in first or second in Saturday's Ames Straw Poll, finished sixth of 11 candidates. And minutes ago he made it official.

The 65-year-old former secretary of Health and Human Services said he was officially dropping out of the race. "I respect the decision of the voters," he said. Despite visiting all 99 Iowa counties, his campaign never got much traction, though he did push his colleagues to talk more about health care.

In a brief statement he said he would take some time off before returning to the private sector and his nonprofit work. Historically, the role of the Ames straw poll has been as an early spring weeding of the candidate garden, as discussed here yesterday.

Thompson's departure, which follows that of former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore last month, leaves the GOP pack at eight. It is unlikely to change the current field's dynamics that await the anticipated arrival of another Thompson (Fred) in early September. Tommy Thompson gave no indication of endorsing another Republican yet.

The Times' Michael Finnegan has the complete story on the day after the Ames straw poll here on the website and in Monday's print editions.

--Andrew Malcolm