GOP Senate Candidates Will Sign Unity Pledge

Proposal Calls For Loser Of August Primary To Agree To Support Winner

"Vote here" sign
David Zalubowski/AP Photo

Republican Senate candidates Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson say they will both sign a proposed unity pledge.

The pledge put forward Wednesday by the state party and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson calls on the loser in the August primary to support the winner. The race between Vukmir and Nicholson has already sharply divided many in the party.

Signing the pledge gives the candidate access to the names of potential delegates to the Republican Party convention in May who will be voting on who to endorse.

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Vukmir, of Brookfield, said she’s proud to sign it and has “always supported the party nominee.”

In a Facebook post, Kevin Nicholson, a Delafield businessman and political newcomer, said he is “happy” to sign it and help defeat Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Vukmir is well-known among Republicans, having been in the Legislature since 2003. Nicholson’s campaign is backed by former President Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Meanwhile, Democrats are blasting the GOP Senate pledge.

The spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party says the new unity pledge for the Republican Senate race “shows how nasty their primary has become.”

Democratic Party spokesman Brad Bainum said the fact that Republicans felt they needed such a pledge shows how “nasty” the primary is.

Republican leaders began discussing the pledge in September. Johnson said in a statement announcing the pledge that Republicans in Wisconsin should determine who wins the Senate primary not “political experts” from Washington, D.C.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 11:26 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, with comments from the Wisconsin Democratic Party.