Vukmir suggests GOP rival Nicholson run for another office
Well, that didn’t take long.
Less than two months after entering the race for U.S. Senate, Leah Vukmir suggested this week that Republican rival Kevin Nicholson run for another office and gain experience before making a bid for high office.
Maybe Nicholson, 39, should consider running for state Assembly or Senate, she said.
The Journal Sentinel obtained a tape of Vukmir’s comments that she made during an appearance Monday before Republican activists in Manitowoc.
Vukmir, 59, a state senator from Brookfield, is campaigning on her experience in helping craft Wisconsin’s conservative agenda over the past decade. Nicholson — a Delafield businessman, Marine veteran and former Democrat — is billing himself as a political outsider.
On Monday, Vukmir offered her most pointed criticisms of her opponent so far when an audience member asked her if she knew much about Nicholson.
She said they had stumped together in various places, and she spoke highly of his service as a Marine.
“But, other than that, I will say I think what people are looking for is somebody with a proven, consistent track record,” she said. “You know my track record as a conservative. You’ll have to ask him what his is because I don’t know what his record is other than what he tells us what it is.
“And I think that to run for one of the highest offices in the land, and to be able to make a difference when you’re in there, it’s going require someone who’s had, who’s kind of gone through the political trenches that we’ve gone through. And you know, great, maybe he could run for state Assembly, state Senate and develop that,” she said.
She also dismissed one of Nicholson’s common themes that he is following the path of another former Democrat turned Republican, Ronald Reagan.
“You know, Ronald Reagan spent 20 years in the conservative movement before he ran for governor,” Vukmir said.
Vukmir meant to say that Reagan was in the conservative movement for 20 years before becoming president.
Michael Antonopoulos, a Nicholson spokesman, responded: “While Senator Vukmir was working her way up through the ‘political trenches,’ Kevin was serving in combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan to keep America safe.”
“Only a professional politician would dream of saying that a Marine veteran and businessman needs more qualifications before running for the U.S. Senate,” he added. “Kevin is proud to be a political outsider whose record is fighting for our country, leading our nation’s finest warriors and solving the toughest problems that businesses face. As President (Donald) Trump and U.S. Senator (Ron) Johnson have proven, Wisconsin conservatives want political outsiders to shake up Washington.”
Vukmir and Nicholson are running for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin next year.
Kevin Nicholson (left) and Leah Vukmir (right) are Republican candidates for U.S. Senate.