Former Gov. Tommy Thompson stopped in Racine Monday morning to tour Pioneer Products, but this wasn't for any type of special announcement or splashy media event.
Instead, Thompson was in town with Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as Joe the Plumber, to drum up support heading into Tuesday's primary by learning more about Pioneer and meeting the company's employees. Thompson's visit comes the day before voters head to the polls to decide who will face Democrat Tammy Baldwin in November for the US Senate seat up for grabs because Herb Kohl is retiring.
Thompson and Wurzelbacher were given a tour of the factory floor by James Beere, president of Pioneer. Wurzelbacher was impressed.
"This is amazing to see how diversified Pioneer is," he said. "They're making parts for companies across the country and beyond and here at home, too."
As for why he's stumping with and for Thompson, Wurzelbacher said he likes people who get things done.
"I want to help get people elected who get stuff done," he said. "I'm a tradesman so if I don't produce anything, I don't get paid. I think too many folks from both parties talk too damn much. Politicians are the only people who can just talk, get nothing done, and then keep their jobs. "
With all the criticism directed at candidates when they bring in supporters from outside Wisconsin, Wurzelbacher agrees residents shouldn't give much weight to what he thinks. Instead, he's hoping people will take the attention on Thompson as a hint to do their own research.
"I want to encourage people to look at Thompson's record because that's their responsibility, to know before they head out to vote," he added.
And it turns out that Wurzelbacher is tied to Wisconsin. Not only is his wife from Campbellsport, but he has been visiting the north woods to hunt and fish for the last 10 years or so. He told Patch that he hopes to move his family to the north woods in the next couple of years, provided he can find a job.
"The people up there are great, and it's just home to me," he said.
With less than 36 hours until the polls open Tuesday, Thompson said he feels good going into the primary.
"The numbers show we're doing well so I'm cautiously optimistic," he said while we walked with him through the factory. "It could be close, but I'm excited that everything is headed in the right direction for November."