Businessman and former Marine Kevin Nicholson announced today he will run for the U.S. Senate, the first Republican candidate to officially launch a bid to challenge Dem Tammy Baldwin.

A three-minute announcement video Nicholson released this morning called him a “conservative warrior with the guts to fight Washington” and a conservative outsider. It highlighted his combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the Bronze Star he was awarded.

Nicholson also acknowledged in the video he was once a Democrat, which has become a point of contention in the possible GOP primary. But he said since those “younger days,” he’s had three kids, fought in two wars and been in businesses around the world.

“After you’ve been hit in the face with that much reality, you cannot help but become a strong conservative,” Nicholson says in the video.

Nicholson goes on to say “the one thing you cannot compromise is your principles” before calling himself “strongly pro-life.” A narrator then says Nicholson backs the Second Amendment, term limits and school choice.

Nicholson also calls Baldwin a “disaster on national security,” dead wrong on the economy, liberal, divisive, “honestly just embarrassing” and “everything wrong about Washington.”

Baldwin’s campaign hit back at Nicholson as an “opportunist” and questioned his support from Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein, who has pumped $3.5 million into a super PAC to support the Republican’s candidacy.

Nicholson has faced questions over his political past, including including serving as national president of the College Democrats and his 2008 vote in the Dem presidential primary while stationed in North Carolina.

“Kevin Nicholson is a political opportunist who is willing to lie about his own biography to earn the support of an out-of-state billionaire,” said Gillian Drummond, a spokeswoman for the state Dem Party. “How can we trust Kevin Nicholson to do what he says when those that know him best think he’s an opportunist?”


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