Pewaukee (WKOW) - A Wisconsin state senator and close ally to Gov. Scott Walker has defeated a former Marine who cast himself as a political outsider in the state's Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
Leah Vukmir beat Kevin Nicholson in Tuesday's primary and now advances to face Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.
Vukmir won the endorsement of the Wisconsin Republican Party and the backing of most prominent GOP officeholders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan. She ran as the proven conservative in the race, pointing to her long voting record in support of Republican priorities.
Both she and Nicholson ran as strong supporters of President Donald Trump.Vukmir tells 27 News as she launches a general election campaign against incumbent democratic U.S. Tammy Baldwin, she'll continue to align herself with the president.
"I'm thrilled with what he's doing and how he's changing the course of our country," Vukmir tells 27 News. "He's following through on his promises."A campaign TV ad from a group backing Nicholson included 2016 video of Vukmir criticizing Trump's style and personal behavior.
Nicholson failed to overcome his past as a Democrat. He also lost despite millions more being spent on his behalf by outside groups.
During his concession speech, Nicholson vowed he will support Vukmir in the November election.
"What State Senator Vukmir has to do is keep that focus on the issues and like I said up there, force Senator Baldwin to answer and actually provide solutions. Yeah, there are a lot of republicans who are eager to vote against her, but she has to go to places like Milwaukee, places like Madison - make a credible case that conservative ideas actually work better," Nicholson said.
The Delafield businessman thanked his wife, his children and his supporters at his watch party in Hartland, Wisconsin.
Although he lost the race, Nicholson believed he put it all on the line.
"I feel no regret whatsoever. This was a well-run campaign. We put out honest ideas and I was ready to put those ideas out with Senator Baldwin as well, too. But at the end of the day my family and I did this because we are worried about the future of this country," said Nicholson.
Vukmir says she'll contrast her positions on health care, taxes, and other issues with Baldwin's stands. Vukmir also criticizes Baldwin's handling of whistle blower's information on a doctor's over-prescribing of opioids at the federal veteran's health facility in Tomah.