Appleton, Wis. – Saying “this race shouldn’t be a coronation,” Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson on Monday called on the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) to organize a series of debates among the crowded field seeking to replace incumbent U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

In a letter sent to DPW Chair Ben Wikler and other candidates, Nelson said the stakes of the race were too high to wait to begin vetting the eventual nominee and ensuring Wisconsin’s Democrats pick the candidate best able to defeat the extremist Johnson.

The race “shouldn’t be about who has the most money, shouldn’t be about who is leading in the polls: By these criteria, there would never be another Senator William Proxmire or Senator Russ Feingold,” wrote Nelson, a pro-labor grassroots populist himself who has won six times in a Trump-won county.

In an accompanying video released today, Nelson addresses his fellow Democratic candidates simply: “We need to have debates. We need to have them now.”

Nelson’s letter is attached.

Watch the video here.

The video transcript appears below:


Hi, I’m Tom Nelson, candidate for the U.S. Senate. I’m calling on the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and our distinguished chairman, Ben Wikler, to host U.S. Senate candidate debates and hold them now. This race should not be about who has the most money, who has the highest name recognition. It should be about the issues and the number one issue who can beat Ron Johnson because Democrats have got to get this one right. If it’s easier for my opponents – happy to go to their house, their living room, if they’re more comfortable with it. The Nelson household – we’re happy to have you here as well, but at any rate we need to have debates. We need to have them now. Thank you.

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