Wisconsin Republicans gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson announced Tuesday he’s no longer guber-possible:
Over the past week, I have assessed the state of the primary race and it has become clear to me and my team the only path forward for our campaign is attacking the other candidates in the race on the airwaves and running a very negative campaign. While our team has the capability to do that, that is not something I want to do – nor do I believe that it would be good for the party to do so. This election is too important for our state and our movement.
So today, I am suspending my campaign for Governor. I want to thank all the thousands of people who have donated, volunteered, and supported my campaign. It has been an honor.
Apparently Wisconsin Republicans are not big fans of candidates who are so ambitious they’re willing to run for any office that presents itself.
My favorite part of Nicholson’s withdrawal was his stated reluctance to attack his opponents. This, from the candidate whose entire raison d’être for his campaign was to attack his fellow Republicans, like the time he called former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch “as dumb as a bag of hammers.”
But the demise of the Nicholson campaign really was predictable. He actually said President Joe Biden won the 2020 election. In a primary race where the GOP electorate is “nuttier than a fruitcake,” in the professional opinion of the great Dr. Egelhoffer, it’s hard to imagine a path for Nicholson when his opponents feel more like a nut than a bowl full of Almond Joys if Nicholson insisted on continuing to support Trump.
However, there was one possible path to the guber mansion for Nicholson: run against Trump. In the last Marquette Law School Poll, 34 percent of Republicans were “very confident” or “somewhat confident” in the outcome of the 2020 election. Not a majority, but enough for a possible plurality in a four-candidate race.
There is a lane left for @KevinMNicholson. He’s already said Trump lost the 2020 election. If Nicholson wants to run as the anti-Trump candidate, now is the time. Otherwise he should just drop out of the race because he’ll just end up in 4th place in August. #WIgov https://t.co/QGUIxvg56q
— James Wigderson (@jwigderson) June 3, 2022
Even if Nicholson fell short in August, he would have served his party by being a needed voice of sanity. Instead, he finishes the race without having accomplished anything except losing his second statewide election in a row. Richard Uihlein must be wondering when, or if, he is going to get a return on his investment.
Nicholson’s withdrawal probably helps the Trump-endorsed Tim Michels the most. In essentially a one-on-one battle, with Rep. Tim Ramthun (R-Pillow Guy) playing a spoiler, the contest is between the Trumpy “election was stolen” candidate and the Trumpy “election was stolen” candidate. But both Nicholson and Michels were running in the “outsider” lane while Kleefisch has been endorsed by former Governor Scott Walker.