The Republican Party of Wisconsin’s Unity Pledge, sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson, seemed to be tested as Senate candidate Leah Vukmir’s campaign recently sent an email that pointedly criticizes fellow Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson, and tests the limits of the unity pledge. At least, the Nicholson campaign feels it does.
The unity pledge calls for candidates to conduct campaigns centered on defeating Tammy Baldwin and to display mutual respect to fellow Republican competitors. However, in a campaign email obtained by Media Trackers, Vukmir called out Nicholson for his past views on Ronald Reagan, then claimed “YOU’RE NO RONALD REAGAN.” It also claims that Nicholson will “say whatever is convenient, whenever, to please his audience. He has no real principles, only political ambitions.”
Nicholson doesn’t deny that he was previously a Democrat. That included speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2000.
Brandon Moody of the Nicholson campaign told Media Trackers that Nicholson’s campaign would continue to focus on defeating Baldwin and will stick to the unity pledge:
“It’s amusing to read an attack stating Kevin has no real principles – he’s a Marine who volunteered to fight in two wars for his country. We all signed a Unity Pledge to keep the focus on winning in November, but career politicians like Leah don’t really have positive ideas of their own, so they just flail wildly. Kevin will continue to keep the focus on beating Tammy Baldwin, and that’s why he’s winning this race in every measurable way.”
Moody didn’t specifically say they felt the email violated the pledge.
Media Trackers reached out to Vukmir’s campaign asking if they felt the email violated the unity pledge, Vukmir’s campaign manager, Jess Ward, responded:
“Voters need to know the facts behind Kevin Nicholson’s past statements, and he shouldn’t cry foul when he refuses to say if he agrees with outside groups like the Club for Growth attacking Leah for supporting Scott Walkers budgets. Which gets to the very point of this criticism.”
The primary for the election will take place on August 14th.