Vukmir earns state party endorsement in U.S. Senate race

Republican U.S. Senate candidates Kevin Nicholson, left, and Leah Vukmir. (Photos courtesy candidates' campaigns)

MILWAUKEE (WLUK) -- The Republican Party of Wisconsin has endorsed a candidate in the United States Senate race.

State Sen. Leah Vukmir is her state party’s preferred choice to face Baldwin. Delegates at the Republican State Convention made that decision Saturday afternoon. Official results provided Vukmir a 73 to 27 percent edge over businessman and Marine Kevin Nicholson.

The winner of an August 14th primary election will face Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Republicans from across the state gathered this weekend at The Wisconsin Center in Downtown Milwaukee.

There were differing views among delegates in specific county groups, including Outagamie.

Appleton's Jerry Murphy prefers Vukmir, while his friend Ralph Skowron, of Hortonville, prefers Nicholson.

"I think she is proven," said Murphy. "She's proven that she can get the job done and I just feel why would we want to go to somebody that doesn't have the proven record that she has when we have somebody that certainly has displayed she can do the job."

"He represents what I would consider to be an outsider who would fight against the Wisconsin swamp that I've learned just recently exists to a significant extent," said Skowron.

Both candidates took turns addressing the convention crowd.

"I have taken our grassroots spirit and I've taken it to Madison where I have established myself as a conservative fighter, where I have established that I will stand up and be determined as a conservative activist who doesn't just talk the talk, but I walk the walk," said Vukmir.

"As President Trump has proven, and he has and the body of work is growing every single day, it will take outsiders to push back on this political aristocracy in Washington and to stop it and to change the ways," said Nicholson.

Democrats say they're confident Baldwin will be able to beat whoever Republicans officially decide on during August's primary election.

"You have folks on their side that clearly are not putting forward agendas that they know will benefit real people," said State Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee) "They're moving forward with agendas that will only benefit special wealthy interests that are backing their campaigns."

The winner of the race will earn themselves a six-year term, joining Republican Ron Johnson, as Wisconsin's two U.S. Senators. Johnson won re-election in 2016.

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