Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey insisted today Fred Thompson remains neutral in the governor’s race, even though Thompson’s wife Jeri is throwing a fund-raiser for Zach Wamp next week.
“He’s not endorsing anyone, I guarantee you,” Ramsey told reporters at Legislative Plaza. “His name’s not on the invitation, and I think that’s on purpose to show that he’s not endorsing anyone.”
Should Thompson make an endorsement, any of the Republican candidates would ballyhoo it as a major coup, but Ramsey discounted its value: “I don’t know how much endorsements mean anyway. You have to get out there and work hard and follow your plan, and it all works out.”
Politico reported this week that Jeri Thompson was hosting the $1,000-a-person fund-raiser in Washington for Congressman Wamp, one of three candidates running with Ramsey in next year’s Republican gubernatorial primary.
In an invitation obtained by Politico, Jeri Thompson writes of Wamp: “[H]e’s been a loyal friend and a strong supporter of Fred’s activities for many years.” But she told Politico her husband isn’t endorsing Wamp and won’t attend the fund-raiser.
“[I]t seems clear where the former senator’s sympathies are in the race. In addition to his wife, one of Thompson’s closest friends and advisers, Tennessee Republican strategist Bob Davis, is also helping Wamp,” the Politico post stated.
Ramsey agreed Davis is pulling strings for Wamp with Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee. Ramsey also described the fund-raiser as payback to Wamp for helping Thompson in his 2008 presidential campaign. Wamp was one of Thompson’s strongest supporters.
“I figured this was coming. I can connect the dots here,” Ramsey said. He said he spoke with Thompson several months ago and “he said 'I’m not going to be making any endorsements in this. I’m not going to take sides in this.' But obviously, what Zach did for him [in the presidential race], starting Congressmen for Thompson or whatever, there’s a little payback there and that’s fine.”