The Milwaulkee Journal-Sentinel caught the former governor before he gave a speech to a Tea Party gathering at the Wisconsin State Capitol today:

"My family didn't want me to run," Thompson told the Journal Sentinel moments before he gave a speech to a tea party gathering on the steps of the State Capitol.

This leaves the field open:

Thompson's decision leaves the GOP race to developer Terrence Wall (R), businessman Dave Westlake (R), and ex-WI Dept. of Commerce Sec. Dick Leinenkugel (R), who is expected to announce a run later this month. Wall, a self-funder who poured $1.2M of his own money into his campaign, went up on TV in Feb. with an ad that attacks Feingold. Businessman Ron Johnson (R) may also run.

Former GOP Gov. George Pataki of New York also passed on a Senate challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand this week.

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