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Republican Senate candidates debate amid tight race

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jul 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 07:03:51-04

Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate faced-off Thursday in their first televised debate.

Front-runners Kevin Nicholson and Leah Vukmir are vying for the Republican nomination in next month's primary. The winner will take on incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November.

Vukmir and Nicholson are running a close race. But they seem to agree on a lot.

On immigration:

"Build a wall on the southern border to stop illegal immigration," said Nicholson.

"Build that wall," said Vukmir.

On abortion:

"Life needs to be protected," said Nicholson.

"I will always stand for pro-life issues," said Vukmir.

And on President Donald Trump:

"The president has done good work and we should applaud him for it," said Nicholson.

"What we have seen so far is what he is doing is making a difference," said Vukmir.

But Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has spoken out against Trump. He is upset about the tariffs and trade wars that are hurting Wisconsin farmers and businesses. The candidates though stand behind the president.

"He needs the support of people who are going to say, 'You know what, you are a great businessman.' That's what makes President Donald Trump so great," said Vukmir.

"I look at the president's agenda and it's a darn good one and everyone in this room knows it," said Nicholson.

What they disagree on is who is the more conservative candidate for the job.

"I dedicated myself to the perseverance of our Constitution, my time in business solving problems, those businesses could be successful so people could go forward and live out their dreams," said Nicholson. "I've done it. I've lived it. I'll continue to live it in the United States Senate."

"I stood shoulder to should with Governor Scott Walker as we broke the stranglehold of public sector unions. We stood for conservative ideas. I stand for those ideas," said Vukmir.

Three other candidates joined in for the online portion of the debate at Charles Barman, Griffin Jones, and George Lucia will be on the ballot with Nicholson and Vukmir next month.