The Waiting Game

Only one Republican has officially filed to challenge Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in 2018 – little-known courier John Schiess of Rice Lake, who once won 9.9 percent of the 1984 GOP primary vote in Oregon against Senator Mark Hatfield. However, a bevy of well-known Republicans are currently waiting in the wings considering bids including three state legislators (Scott Fitzgerald, Leah Vukmir, Dale Kooyenga), the lieutenant governor (Rebecca Kleefisch), and three political outsiders (Madison businessman and 2nd place 2012 GOP candidate Eric Hovde, Milwaukee businessman Kevin Nicholson, and wealthy Green Bay education research officer Nicole Schneider). The largest number of Republicans to vie for their party’s U.S. Senate nomination is seven – a field reached in 1940 (won by Horicon businessman Fred Clausen) and in 1957’s special primary to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Joseph McCarthy (won by former Governor Walter Kohler). Both Clausen and Kohler lost in the general election.

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