MADISON, Wis. – Rebecca Kleefisch’s floundering campaign for governor is hemorrhaging Republican primary supporters after a rough weekend where at least two county parties followed Kevin Nicholson’s wishes and voted to not participate in the Republican endorsement process.
Since entering the race, Kleefisch has desperately tried to consolidate primary support and win the state party’s endorsement — a move that would give her access to the party’s infrastructure. Kleefisch’s campaign has put out a step-by-step guide and begged supporters to help her win the endorsement.
But this weekend, the Sheboygan County Republican Party voted to snub Kleefisch and not participate in the endorsement process, passing a resolution calling for a non-endorsement option at the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s state convention. Kleefisch’s own home county party, Jefferson County, also chose to not endorse her this weekend.
Nicholson has previously railed against the state party’s “broken machine” and accused its leaders of planning to force candidates from the primary field if they don’t win the endorsement later this year. Nicholson also has experience creating chaos in the endorsement process.
At the Sheboygan caucus, Kleefisch’s potential primary opponent, far-right extremist Tim Ramthun, even received a larger round of applause than Kleefisch, according to Republicans.
“Rebecca Kleefisch has been desperately trying to win the Republican endorsement because she wants to avoid a bruising primary that forces her to exhaust her resources,” said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Iris Riis. “As more Wisconsin Republicans snub Kleefisch, she’ll continue to double down on her divisive statements and violent rhetoric in an attempt to stand out from others in the field, and in the process, showing Wisconsinites just how extreme she really is.”