Wisconsin Republicans talk Trump, 2018 elections at annual convention

Gov. Walker 'ready' to run for another term

About 600 people gathered in the Wisconsin Dells Saturday for the annual Wisconsin Republican Convention.

Unlike last year at their convention, Wisconsin Republicans are more than happy to talk about Donald Trump.

The president’s victory has been the centerpiece of speeches at the convention on Saturday. Last year many speakers didn’t refer to Trump, even though he was the presumptive nominee. Trump didn’t carry Wisconsin in the primary, but he became the first Republican since 1984 to carry the state in the presidential election.

State party chairman Brad Courtney said Saturday, “I never get tired of saying Republican President Donald Trump.” He also thanked Reince Priebus for helping Trump win. Priebus is Trump’s chief of staff, was Republican National Committee chairman last year and previously was Wisconsin party chairman.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson kicked off the convention by saying how proud he was that Wisconsin had delivered its 10 electoral votes to Trump in November. Trump was the first Republican to carry Wisconsin since 1984.

Johnson cast Trump’s victory and his own re-election win as “saving” the United States Supreme Court.

Republicans are also looking ahead to 2018 when Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin are up for re-election.

Walker: “I’m ready for four more years”

During his speech at the convention, Walker said he is ready for another term as governor.

Walker told the crowd to a standing ovation that ” I am ready to help move Wisconsin forward for four more years .”

Democrats are still searching for a top tier challenger to run against Walker. A number of possible candidates are considering it, while some high profile office holders have passed on a run.

Walker spoke after his son, Alex Walker, also addressed convention attendees. The younger Walker was graduating Saturday from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which led to the governor speaking earlier than normal.

Walker is touting his record as governor and the lowest state unemployment rate since 2000. “We have more people employed in 2017 than we have in the entire history of this great state,” Walker told the crowd.

He also touted the state’s ranking in the top ten states of where to do business.

Democrats say the state has underperformed under Walker and a change in leadership is needed.

Ryan thanks Wisconsin for electing Trump

House Speaker Paul Ryan is thanking Wisconsin Republicans for delivering the state’s 10 electoral votes to Trump.

Ryan said the GOP has an opportunity to enact its agenda now that they have control of the House, Senate and White House.

Ryan led the effort to pass a House bill that repealed the national health care law enacted by former President Barack Obama. Ryan defended that bill Saturday, saying it delivered on promises Republicans made to undo the law.

The Senate is working on reworking the bill and it’s unclear if Republicans in the House will agree to it.

Ryan is also touting a tax reform package in the House that he says Trump supports.

Vos: “Plague of political correctness”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is decrying what he calls a “plague of political correctness on our college campuses.”

Vos used his speech at the convention to tout a bill that would punish students who disrupt free speech on college campuses . Vos says Wisconsin can be the national leader on the issue by passing the proposal.

Opponents said at a legislative hearing on the measure this week that it would actually quash free speech rather than protect it.

But Vos says liberals are trying to drown out other voices through intimidation. He says, “We all know that’s wrong. It’s time we took a definitive stand against the suppression of ideas.”

He says if students stand in the way of free speech “they should face real consequences like suspension or expulsion.”

Schimel attacks Democratic challenger Kaul

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel is casting his re-election bid against Democratic challenger Josh Kaul as the choice between a supporter of Wisconsin’s voter identification law and an opponent.

Schimel is defending the state in a lawsuit brought by a group of voters who say the law is unconstitutional. Kaul is a lead attorney fighting the law.

Schimel is up for re-election next year.

He is also noting that Kaul worked as an attorney for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Wisconsin and is the son of former Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager. The GOP crowd booed with Schimel mentioned her name.

Kaul reiterated his statement that Schimel should call for a special investigation into Russia’s role in last year’s election. He says Wisconsin needs to hear why Schimel won’t join with other attorneys general in calling for a special prosecutor.

Kleefisch highlights fight against drug abuse

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Schimel are both highlighting efforts to fight opioid addiction and drug abuse.

Kleefisch and Schimel both focused on the issue in their speeches at the convention. Kleefisch is expected to remain as Gov. Scott Walker’s running mate in his re-election bid.

Kleefisch calls for Republicans to “protect the most vulnerable and most marginalized.” She says the Republican Party is “the party of the little guy. That’s what the Republican Party has always been about.”

Kleefisch also touted Republican opposition to abortion, support for gun rights and called for the GOP to stand united for Israel.

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