Wisconsin Republicans hold convention this weekend

MADISON, Wis. — Republicans will debate how to move forward with the endorsement process when they are in Middleton this weekend at the state party convention.

All four candidates running for governor will be eligible to receive the party’s endorsement, but the party may also consider going with a no endorsement option.

The debate over not only who to endorse, but whether to endorse, could underscore a rift among Republicans, according to UW-Madison political scientist Barry Burden.

“I think the GOP has an issue, in that its leadership and some of its rank and file activists are interested in different things, different kinds of candidates and a different style of governing,” he said.

The idea of no endorsement is even backed by some of the gubernatorial candidates.

“This endorsement process that exists is about the party insiders using their levers to divert resources from the party before the primary to a favorite candidate, those resources should be saved until the voters have their say,” Kevin Nicholson, a Republican candidate for governor, said. “I will encourage them to vote for no endorsement, and then let the voters have their say on Aug. 9.”

News 3 Now reached out to the other gubernatorial candidates, but none returned the request to appear in the story.

Burden said the convention could be an opportunity to reconcile the different factions that have emerged in the Republican Party.

“That’s one of the things that parties get to work out at their conventions as they figure out what they’re about and who they want to be in the November general election,” he said.

The convention will take place at the Madison Marriott West, with speakers taking to the podium on Saturday. The current speaker list includes:

Candidates for Governor:

  • Rebecca Kleefisch
  • Tim Michels
  • Kevin Nicholson
  • Tim Ramthun

Candidates for Lieutenant Governor:

  • Will Martin
  • Roger Roth
  • Patrick Testin
  • Ben Voelkel
  • Jonathan Wichmann

Candidates for Attorney General:

  • Adam Jarchow
  • Eric Toney

Candidate for State Treasurer:

  • Orlando Owens

Candidate for Secretary of State:

  • Amy Loudenbeck

Stay with News 3 Now and Channel 3000 for continuing coverage of the convention.