The Wisconsin Republican primary for U.S. Senate may come down to who loves President Donald Trump the most. According to CNN.com, in the last 14 GOP primary races across the country, the Republican candidate endorsed by Trump has either won the primary or is leading.
Brookfield state Sen. Leah Vukmir and Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson are fighting for the Trump love, and it’s getting nasty. They’re competing for the Republican Party’s nomination Tuesday to take on U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in November.
The conservative Breitbart website recently posted a video of Vukmir trashing Trump at a women’s forum moderated by Trump-hater and conservative commentator Charlie Sykes in March 2016.
Vukmir said then about Trump, “He’s offensive to everyone. He’s offensive to women. He’s offensive to men. He’s offensive to little people. He’s offensive to fat people.” Vukmir then held her nose to show what some Republicans would do if they had to vote for Donald Trump.
Vukmir supported Gov. Scott Walker in the Republican presidential race until Walker withdrew. Vukmir then supported U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., before voting for Wisconsin presidential primary winner U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Vukmir became a big supporter of Trump after he won the GOP nomination. Nicholson, her Republican opponent on Tuesday, said last week he voted for Trump in the 2016 Wisconsin primary.
Vukmir is slamming the third-party group Club for Growth for spending money against her. Veteran Wisconsin Republican guru Bill McCoshen defends party favorite Vukmir.
“Club for Growth is wasting millions trying to convince GOP voters that Vukmir isn’t a conservative and doesn’t support Trump,” McCoshen says. “Both claims are false and can easily be disproved. But they are doing serious damage to Vukmir’s general election prospects just like they did when they attacked Tommy in 2012. Club for Growth are arsonists trying to burn down the conservative movement in Wisconsin. Their money would be far better spent defining Tammy Baldwin rather than attacking a proven conservative.”
Vukmir has to be hoping Trump does not see the March video of her slamming him. His old buddy Steve Bannon’s super PAC endorsed Nicholson, and it was Bannon’s old Breitbart organization that posted the video.
It is ironic that after Vukmir and Wisconsin radio talk show hosts Sykes of Milwaukee, Vicki McKenna of Madison and Jerry Bader of Green Bay urged Trump’s defeat in the primary, two of them — Vukmir and McKenna — are now cheering for Trump’s agenda. Sykes and Bader no longer have their talk shows.
Veteran Republican consultant Mike Murphy said on “Meet the Press” last Sunday that Republicans who cozy up to Trump in the primary may pay a big price in November. He points out that the president is “upside down” with independents, and Democrats are hyper-mobilized in 2018.
But we should have learned something profound from the consultants in 2016 — that Donald Trump had no chance to win.