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Conservative activist Kevin Nicholson joins Wisconsin governor race

Rebecca Kleefisch reacts to Kevin Nicholson's candidacy, setting up a fierce primary battle for the Republican nomination.
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 8:52 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 9:30 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The race for governor intensified on the Republican side Thursday as former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson announced he’s officially a candidate.

Nicholson announced his candidacy Thursday morning after weeks of speculation that he would run for governor or U.S. Senate. He was considered a leading candidate for Ron Johnson’s seat, but that changed when Johnson decided a couple weeks ago to run for re-election.

This now sets the stage for what could be a costly Republican primary showdown between Nicholson and former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who even share some of the same donors.

Nicholson is a Marine Corps veteran and founder of the conservative No Better Friend Corp.

Nicholson’s website reads, “As the people of Wisconsin worry about the future of our state, Kevin believes it’s time to turn the page and enact bold reforms that will put us on a trajectory for success. Kevin’s service in the Marine Corps was fundamental to developing his bold leadership style, and Wisconsin conservative talk radio host Mark Belling called Kevin ‘perhaps the most important conservative activist we have in the state right now.’”

“We can’t take Wisconsin to new heights if we elect a Governor from the same, tired political class that lacks the vision, ability, and will to fight for the future of our state. Wisconsin needs someone with solutions to the problems plaguing our state – and the leadership skills to implement those solutions,” Nicholson says.

Action 2 News talked with the Kleefisch campaign which told us the only reason Nicholson is in this race is because he can’t run again for Senate and this was his next best option. Nicholson, a Milwaukee native, ran for U.S. Senate in 2018 but lost in the primary to Leah Vukmir, who eventually lost to Democrat Tammy Baldwin.

The winner of August’s primary will face incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Evers reacted to Nicholson’s announcement, “When I ran for governor we had 20 candidates at one point in time, so that’s something for the Republicans to kind of sort through, so have at it.”

Both Nicholson and Kleefisch have already gone on the attack.

Nicholson previously said Kleefisch was ”as dumb as a box of hammers” for suggesting mercenaries should be at ballot gathering events to compete with Democrats.

Kleefisch responded to Nicholson getting into the race by saying, “Listen, I understand if someone is angry that they couldn’t run for United States Senate. I’m angry, too, but I’m angry at Tony Evers for failing the parents and the hard working families of this state.”

Jonathan Wichmann is also on the ballot.

The Republican side of the race for governor intensifies

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