Republicans for U.S. Senate debate before primaries

Source: MGN

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The Latest on Wisconsin U.S. Senate race (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Charles Barman is cutting a striking pose in a candidate debate.

Barman is one of three fringe candidates who were allowed to join the debate Thursday for its final 30 minutes. The two main candidates, Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson, debated alone for the first hour of the debate.

While Nicholson and two other lesser-known candidates wore suits and ties, Barman came out in boots, blue jeans and a sleeveless black T-shirt. He also wore a tan cowboy hat, a sharp contrast to his bright white beard.

Candidate George Lucia introduced himself by saying, "I've been married more than once, just like our president." Lucia says he supports President Donald Trump.

The third fringe candidate is Griffin Jones.

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6:30 p.m.

Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Wisconsin are refusing to criticize President Donald Trump or his trade policies in a debate less than three weeks before the Aug. 14 primary.

Both state Sen. Leah Vukmir and management consultant Kevin Nicholson refused Thursday to name a single issue where they disagreed with Trump. When asked whether they felt his trade and tariff policies were hurting Wisconsin businesses, neither said they were.

Nicholson says Trump's agenda is a "darn good one and everyone knows it."

Vukmir says "a liberal elite media want nothing more than to bring this president down. I want to see President Donald Trump succeed."

Trump has not made an endorsement in the Wisconsin primary. The winner will advance to take on Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

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4:25 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says she has raised $1.2 million in just over three weeks.

Baldwin reported her latest fundraising numbers on Thursday covering the first 25 days of July. The report comes just hours before her Republican challengers were scheduled to debate in Milwaukee.

Neither of them, Kevin Nicholson nor state Sen. Leah Vukmir, have reported their most recent fundraising totals. The primary is Aug. 14.

What Baldwin raised in 25 days was more than either of the Republican candidates brought in between April and June.

In that period, Nicholson raised about $1 million and Vukmir brought in $668,000.

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6:16 a.m.

Republican U.S. Senate candidates Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir are meeting for a live, broadcast debate less than three weeks before the Aug. 14 primary in a race polls show as about even.

The debate Thursday in Milwaukee comes as the most recent Marquette University Law School poll shows about a third of Republican primary voters are undecided.

Vukmir is a state senator from Brookfield and Nicholson is a political newcomer and management consultant from Delafield. The winner of the primary will advance to take on Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in the November election.

Nicholson is a former Democrat and U.S. Marine combat veteran who is running as a political outsider. Vukmir won the Wisconsin Republican Party endorsement in May and has been endorsed by many high profile office holders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.