Sen. Roger Roth speaks about state budget at the Senate Parlor on July 18, 2017 in Madison, WI. PHOTO BY SAIYNA BASHIR

State Sen. Roger Roth today formally joined the crowded GOP field for lieutenant governor, telling his mix of business, military and legislative experience sets him apart from the pack.

Roth, R-Appleton, has been in the Legislature for 15 years and has spent 17 years in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, where he’s a captain.

Roth, a home builder, touted his work on legislation such as a bill to allow universal school choice in Wisconsin and to curb foreign influence at the UW System, particularly from China. Other issues he plans to run on include election integrity and public safety.

“If you look at the experience that I’ve had, working out there, creating jobs, understanding how government helps and can hurt the job creators, I think I would compliment whomever wins the Republican governor primary,” Roth said in a phone interview. “I would compliment them very well in helping them lead and execute a bold agenda here in Wisconsin.”

Roth is the ninth Republican to declare plans to run for lieutenant governor, and he will have to give up his Senate seat for the run. He joins fellow GOP state Sen. Pat Testin, of Stevens Point, in the race.

He’s also getting in on the heels of Franklin businessman Jonathan Wichmann switching to the lt. guv field after previously filing to run for guv. Wichmann, who changed his registration on Tuesday, over the weekend attended state Rep. Tim Ramthun’s formal launch of his guv bid.

Other contenders include: Ben Voelkel, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson; David King, a Milwaukee pastor who has been a regular candidate for state office; Lancaster Mayor David Varnam; Cindy Werner, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in the 4th CD in 2020; Kyle Yudes, a political newcomer from Eau Claire; and Will Martin, a small business owner from Racine who served under GOP Govs. Tommy Thompson and Scott Walker.

Roth comes into the field with the largest warchest of any GOP contenders. He reported $407,678 in his campaign account at the end of 2021. Of the other contenders, Testin had the most in the bank to end 2021 at $131,161.

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