Nine Wisconsin Republicans who are military veterans have issued a letter criticizing former U.S. Marine Kevin Nicholson, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, for (among other things) saying at last week’s debate that his military service is sufficient credentials to prove that he is a conservative. The signers include including state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Rep. Ken Skowronski (R-Franklin), both backers of state Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) in the Republican U.S. Senate Primary.

At the debate, Nicholson said, “For those that have said that leading Marines in combat during the course of two wars does not qualify as conservative credentials need to look inside them and decide what they think conservative credentials are.”

Since then, Nicholson has refused to back down. In an interview with Steve Scaffidi on WTMJ, Nicholson said enlisting in the armed forces is “a conservative value.”

“I’ll tell you what. Those veterans that are out there in the Democrat Party, I question their cognitive thought process because the bottom line is, they’re signing up to defend the constitution that their party is continually dragging through the mud,” Nicholson said.

That statement has inspired criticism of Nicholson from both Republicans and Democrats. Despite the criticism, Nicholson’s campaign remained defiant.

“What would we apologize for — not being a career politician?” Nicholson spokesman Brandon Moody told the Associated Press. “We’ve simply called out Leah Vukmir for running a campaign focused almost exclusively on questioning Kevin’s personal character and values, which includes his service in the Marines.”

The Associated Press article does not cite any examples of Vukmir questioning Nicholson’s “personal character.”

Here is the letter:

Dear Captain Nicholson,

We are veterans. We have worn the uniform and served our country with honor and pride, and we are writing you to express our disappointment in your behavior in the race for United States Senate in Wisconsin.

Specifically, we were disappointed by your statement in the Republican primary debate, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, where you stated that your military service “doesn’t mean much to certain politicians… I know that darn well” in response to criticism of your history as a Democrat from Leah Vukmir.

The implication that criticism of your past public support of abortion and Hillary Clinton is unfair criticism because of your service in the military is insulting to those of us who have worn the uniform. It is beneath you to claim that legitimate comments about your statements in the public record are inadmissible because of your service. It flies in the face of decades of established political discourse.

Currently, seven sitting U.S. Senators are Democrats, all of whom have served in the military honorably, and all of whom we vehemently disagree with on matters of policy. Former Secretary of State and Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts served his country in Vietnam. But that did not prevent Republicans from rightly pointing out his waffling and inconsistent leadership on the war in Iraq. Not even Senator Kerry, a Massachusetts liberal, used his military experience as an excuse for far-left positions on abortion, taxes, and immigration.

Captain Nicholson, those who wear the uniform of our country have an important responsibility when they invoke their service to our country as part of a political campaign. They should do it honorably, truthfully, and respectfully. Your statement was disrespectful to veterans across Wisconsin who are supporting your opponent, Leah Vukmir, because of her consistent record of advocating for conservative policies.

We are disappointed in you, Kevin, and you should apologize.


Ron Heuer
Captain U.S. Army

John C. Kriewaldt
Major U.S. Army

Richard Kucksdorf
Full Colonel U.S. Army

Ted Preiser
Airman 2nd Class
U.S. Air Force National Guard

Thomas Rocque
Corporal U.S. Army

Dan Sebring
CTO 3 U.S. Navy

Don Zimmer
Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army

Rep. Ken Skowronski
Airman 1st Class
U.S. Air Force National Guard

Sen. Scott Fitzgerald
Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Army

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