State Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, says that he wasn’t ready to give up his military and accounting careers to run for US Senate.

“The question on the US Senate was, am I willing to be done with my military career? Am I willing to be done with my private sector career?” Kooyenga told Dan O’Donnell on WISN-AM on Wednesday. “Both of which you can’t do if you’re going to run for a US Senate race and then hold that office.”

Kooyenga is a current member of the U.S. Army Reserve and a certified public accountant. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2010.

Kooyenga’s decision leaves Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson as the only declared Republican in the US Senate race. State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield, is also expected to run. The winner of the Republican primary in August 2018 will take on incumbent Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison.

Because it is a midterm election with a Republican president, Wisconsin Republicans will be fighting historical trends in their effort to knock off Baldwin. There may also be races that will attract more national Republican attention because of the vulnerability of Democrats holding senate seats in more Republican states. However, Baldwin is considered vulnerable, largely due to the senator’s mishandling of the scandal of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tomah, WI.

Kooyenga told O’Donnell that the strength of the country isn’t represented by who we have in Congress.

“I think the strength of the country is the states. I think the strength of our country is the military. I think the strength of our country is what happens in our houses and our families and raising kids to be honorable citizens. And the private sector. Making things, creating wealth and I do work with private companies. And I think all those things make our country great. Not necessarily who we have in D.C. and I really enjoy what I’m doing.”

Kooyenga also said he thought the Republican field against Baldwin is pretty strong.

“There are some great folks that are running for US Senate,” Kooyenga said. “Kevin Nicholson’s announced. Leah Vukmir sounds like she’ll be probably running. And so, I know both of those individuals very well. I know Eric Hovde if he jumps in. I’ve known him well for close to a decade. And they’re all honest people who care about our country who are a lot better than Tammy Baldwin.”

“I think the GOP should have a primary that is honorable and respectful and that we don’t do what we did when Tammy was initially elected which is beat each other up in the primary,” Kooyenga said. “We need to come together and make sure the GOP is together so we can take that US Senate seat.”

You can listen to the WISN podcast for the complete interview:

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