04/11/2012 03:00 pm ET

Tommy Thompson To Miss Wisconsin Senate GOP Primary Debate

Tommy Thompson will not be joining his Republican opponents for a debate Wednesday night.

Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor and frontrunner in the GOP primary for the seat being vacated by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), said he was scheduled to attend a fundraiser in Minneapolis instead, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"Gov. Thompson is unable to attend the debate on April 11 due to a long-standing prior fundraising commitment," campaign spokesperson Darrin Schmitz said in a statement. "It is early in the campaign, however, and we expect Gov. Thompson to join future debates in the primary. In fact, just last month Gov. Thompson participated in a candidate forum hosted by Charlie Sykes, and he's been traveling Wisconsin extensively, meeting with voters."

One rival, businessman Eric Hovde, said last week he was "disappointed" Thompson would not attend the debate.

Thompson's campaign says he will appear at a debate later in the month sponsored by Wisconsin Right to Life and a debate in May sponsored by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. In a previous forum with his rivals, Thompson insisted that he is not a "professional politician," pointing to the businesses he is running during his Senate campaign.

10 more election stories from beyond the presidential field:

Dan Liljenquist Self-Funding Campaign To Unseat Orrin Hatch [Salt Lake Tribune]

Texas GOP Senate Candidate Swipes At Opponents In Ad [The Texas Tribune]

Bill Nelson Has $9.5 Million For Re-Election Race [South Florida Sun Sentinel]

NRA Donates To New York Politicians [New York Daily News]

GOP Businessman Launches Campaign To Unseat Delaware Governor [Delaware News Journal]

Charlie Rangel Reaffirms Plans To Run [NY1]

Democrats Target California Rep. Dan Lungren With Billboard Ad [Sacramento Bee]

Washington Gubernatorial Candidate Jay Inslee Has Successful Fundraising Month [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Sarah Steelman Gets Endorsement From Former Reagan Staffer [Springfield News-Leader]

Tim Kaine On Two-Week Tour Of Virginia [Tidewater News]