Speaker Paul Ryan comes to bid farewell, Gov. Scott Walker asks for another vote

Posted at 11:56 AM, May 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-13 15:15:11-04

MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir won the endorsement of the State party Saturday beating challenger Kevin Nicholson.

The nod for the state senator gives her campaign a boost, but it doesn't make her the nominee. That will be decided in the Aug. 14 primary.

The winner will then face Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin. 

Vukmir put more than 61,000 miles on her car traveling the state to win over party delegates. 

She's known many of the delegates for years as a state lawmaker and this convention win was crucial.

"We keep doing what we're doing. We have a formula for success and it involves talking about ideas and proven reform," said Vukmir. 

Nicholson is a former Marine who is running his first campaign for elected office. His spokesman, Brandon Moody, downplayed the importance of the endorsement minutes after the vote.

"We've been traveling the state talking to groups of 25 so of course we'll talk to groups of 600. It doesn't change the campaign. The focus is winning a primary and that's what we're going to do," said Moody.

At his farewell speech at the Wisconsin state party convention, House Speaker Paul Ryan warned fellow Republicans a “blue wave” could wipe out GOP advancements.

After 20 years in congress, Ryan spoke Saturday at his final Wisconsin Republican Party convention.

Republican Governor Scott Walker gave Ryan a Green Bay Packers jersey with a number “1” on the back. That is the number of Ryan’s southeastern Wisconsin congressional district.


The Associated Press's live blog on the Wisconsin Republican Party convention (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir has won the state party's endorsement giving her candidacy a boost against challenger Kevin Nicholson.

Vukmir won 73 percent of the vote Saturday at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention. Nicholson got 27 percent.

It took 60 percent to capture the endorsement.

The win means Vukmir can tap into the state party's resources, including donor lists, campaign staff and other infrastructure.

Vukmir cast herself as a proven conservative fighter who has stood by Gov. Scott Walker and championed his conservative agenda.

Nicholson highlighted his experience as a Marine and cast himself as an outsider who would fight the political establishment in Washington.

The win doesn't make Vukmir the nominee. That will be decided in the Aug. 14 primary.

The primary winner will face Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is a top target for Republicans.


11 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker is telling Republican to "wake up" and the upcoming fall election is "going to be tougher than any we've faced so far."

Walker issued the warnings Saturday at the Wisconsin state party convention.

He and a host of other Republicans are warning party activists that GOP policies enacted in recent years are in jeopardy if Democrats win in November.

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel says "If there's a blue wave coming, our conservative reforms will be among the first thing to go."

Walker is running for a third term and Schimel is seeking a second. There are more than a dozen Democrats seeking the nomination to take on Walker.

He says if a Democrat wins, Republicans are also likely to lose majorities in the state Legislature.


   10 a.m.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says his Democratic opponent is a "liberal activist" who would advance the Hillary Clinton agenda.

Schimel faces Democrat Josh Kaul in November. Schimel told Republicans at the state party convention on Saturday that Kaul would be a "liberal activist" who would undo laws he doesn't agree with.

Schimel says given the GOP record in Wisconsin "this year should be a walk off home run for us."

But he warned that "up and down the ballot there are big challenges ahead of us."

Schimel says as attorney general he has delivered on every promise he made in the 2014 campaign, including fighting opioids and creating a stable regulatory environment for employers, farmers and manufacturers.


   9:32 a.m.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker says he's confident Republicans will maintain their majority in the Assembly, despite concerns over a "blue wave."

Vos said at Saturday's Republican Party convention that "there will be no waves crashing in Wisconsin."

Vos says he is confident voters will reject Democrats once they learn what they want to do.

Vos says Democrats will raise taxes, increase the size of government, fund Planned Parenthood, eliminate school choice and repeal the Act 10 collective bargaining law.

Other speakers at the convention have struck a cautionary tone, saying Democrats are more energized and could undo Republican policies with wins in November.


   12:01 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is coming to bid farewell.

Gov. Scott Walker is asking for another vote.

And the two Republicans running for U.S. Senate are trying to win an endorsement from the party faithful.

Republican activists across the state are gathering Saturday for the annual GOP convention in Milwaukee.

It comes as Ryan is ending his 20-year career in Congress and Walker is running for a third term in November.

State Sen. Leah Vukmir and former Marine Kevin Nicholson are seeking the state party endorsement as they run for a chance to take on Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

The convention will feature speeches from all of them, as well as from other state and federal office holders.

The Democratic convention is in three weeks in Oshkosh.


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