Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says conservative Kevin Nicholson should not enter the GOP race for guv and instead focus his efforts on 2024.

During a WisPolitics.com luncheon at the Madison Club yesterday, the Rochester Republican said Nicholson would be better off saving his war chest for the next cycle instead of wasting money attempting to beat former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch in a primary. Vos also said he isn’t officially endorsing Kleefisch, but added “she certainly in my mind is the best candidate.”

“If Kevin Nicholson is listening: You need to not run for governor,” he said. “You need to be able to focus on something like 2024.”

Nicholson, president and CEO of the conservative No Better Friend Corporation, tweeted back at Vos:

“Thanks, @repvos, for the political advice. Our elections are a mess, law & order is eroding, schools are failing. How about you focus on doing your job?”

Vos said 2024 will be a good year for Republicans to win office because the GOP will have a strong presidential candidate on the ticket, whether that’s Donald Trump or someone else. After President Biden’s first term in office, Americans will be more inclined to vote red because they will likely see those years as a Dem Party failure, he said.

Vos also referenced Nicholson’s loss in the 2018 GOP U.S. Senate primary.

“So if I’m Kevin Nicholson and I’ve already had one loss, why would you now run against Rebecca Kleefisch, who’s got such a far advantage?”

With Kleefisch’s strong fundraising so far and her dominance in early polls, Vos said Nicholson would have to spend all his campaign cash trying to beat her.

“That doesn’t help any Republicans get elected; that just hurts us,” he said.

Nicholson needs to look around and consider what’s best for the larger GOP rather than for himself if he truly cares about the conservative movement, which might mean stepping aside until 2024, Vos added.

Vos also said he believes U.S. Sen Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, will win his bid for a third term this year and suggested Republicans could take both Senate seats when U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, is up for reelection in 2024.

Vos also said he doesn’t fret over what Gov. Tony Evers will sign anymore because “in many ways he is irrelevant to the process, which is an amazing thing to say about a governor.”

He said he has no idea which bills Evers will sign, and pointed to Evers signing the latest GOP-authored budget as many Dems said it would never happen.

“I’ve gotten to the point like I do with the state Senate, unfortunately,” he said. “I’m not going to worry about what Tony Evers is going to sign, because in many ways he is irrelevant to the process, which is an amazing thing to say about a governor.”

Vos also said he wants to see the Wisconsin Supreme Court finish its redistricting job as quickly as possible so the GOP can start recruiting candidates for the next election.

Vos added a quick decision would also avoid the federal courts taking over the process.

A group of Dem votes filed suit in federal court shortly after Census data was released. But that three-judge panel has deferred to the state justices.

“Well that would be the goal,” he said of quick decision. “But the other goal, because I think this is important, is we want to be able to get a map done as quickly as possible because we need to go recruit candidates.”

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