Statewide candidates who failed to meet viability thresholds the Wisconsin GOP established will have a second option to become eligible for the party’s endorsement at this month’s convention.

The party’s Executive Committee previously established fundraising requirements for candidates. That included those running for guv or the U.S. Senate having to raise at least $100,000 from a minimum of 1,000 individual donors by March 15 to be considered for the endorsement.

Party officials said the second option will allow candidates to be nominated for the party’s endorsement from the convention floor on May 21.

Under that process, a majority of delegates must be present from the candidate’s home county to nominate the candidate. Two counties from two other congressional districts will also have to do the same for the candidate to be considered for the endorsement.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, five of the nine candidates have told that they met the party’s previous viability thresholds: Will Martin, a former member of Scott Walker’s cabinet; state Sens. Roger Roth, of Appleton, and Pat Testin, of Stevens Point; Ben Voelkel, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson; and businessman Jonathan Wichmann.

Of the other four seeking the nomination, Kyle Yudes, of Eau Claire, and David King, of Milwaukee, told they’re not interested in seeking a spot in the endorsement process even with the second option.

“I told the party that I wasn’t going to play the endorsement game,” King said. “I’m not going to go let someone else tell me that I’m a viable candidate. I told them I’ll find out in August if I’m a viable candidate or not.”

The primary is Aug. 9.

Lancaster Mayor David Varnam said he plans to pursue the option and appreciated the party creating an additional path to being considered viable.

Only candidates who participated in the party’s endorsement process may be nominated from the floor.

“I think it’s important to get on the floor in front of the grassroots of our party and talk about our vision for Wisconsin. I’ve felt that all along,” he said.

The party’s Rules Committee has given preliminary approval to including a “no endorsement” option during the May 21 vote on whether to back a candidate.

Under party rules, a candidate must receive the support of 60 percent of delegates to secure the endorsement. If none of the candidates hit that mark, the one who finished in last place and anyone receiving less than 20 percent support will be dropped before a new round of voting. That process will repeat for a maximum of three rounds.

The package the Rules Committee has given preliminary approval to would allow a “no endorsement” option on every ballot. The rules will be submitted to delegates on the convention floor May 21 for final consideration.

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