The Contrarian

Ron Johnson To The Rescue?

His attempt to bring peace between Vukmir and Nicholson backers is welcome.

By - Jul 21st, 2018 02:59 pm
Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

When Ron Johnson passes Tammy Baldwin in the corridors of the U.S. Senate he likely understands the big smile on her face.

Baldwin has to be pleased that her re-election chances are buoyed by the intra-party squabble between supporters of Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson.

Not a minute too soon — for conservatives — Wisconsin’s senior U.S. Senator has organized a post-primary unity fundraiser featuring Diane Hendricks and Dick Uihlein.

Hendricks sponsors a Super-PAC that supports Vukmir, while Uihlein is Nicholson’s primary patron. Their joint attendance at the August 17 event is a reminder that: (1) only one outcome matters to conservatives, namely, the November election of either Vukmir or Nicholson: and (2) as in 2012, that outcome is threatened by the back-and-forth slings and arrows cast by supporters of GOP candidates.

Six years ago Baldwin was the main beneficiary of a three-way fight between Eric Hovde, Mark Neumann, and Tommy Thompson. Thompson, the winner, emerged cash-poor and drained by a divisive primary. Baldwin meanwhile accumulated a sizable treasury and entered the general election campaign largely unscathed by serious GOP attacks.

There were early signs that this year would produce a similar dynamic. With their eyes almost solely focused on the primary, supporters of both candidates have challenged the core legitimacy of the other’s credentials.

Team Vukmir, for example, is riveted on Nicholson’s history as a Democrat. Clips of him at the 2000 Democratic convention show exactly what? That his current views are not valid? That he’s not a “real” Republican?

Still, the focus of Vukmir backers on Nicholson’s long-ago record has one thing going for it: it’s accurate. Contrast that with the national Club for Growth (supported in part by large donations from Uihlein). Its early RINO attacks on Vukmir were laughable. A new CFG spot paints her as “just another politician.” The ad’s assortment of supposed proof is pathetic. If Vukmir prevails on August 14, whatever comments Uihlein offers up on August 17 will ring hollow. Is this history repeating itself? In 2012 the Club poisoned the waters with attacks on Hovde and Thompson aimed at bolstering Neumann. In many respects, the Club owns Tammy Baldwin. She should name her Senate conference room in its honor if she wins a second term.

Kudos to Senator Johnson for understanding the real stakes. Time will tell whether his leadership in forging unity will be sufficient.

Disclosure:  I endorsed Vukmir early in this campaign.

2 thoughts on “The Contrarian: Ron Johnson To The Rescue?”

  1. PMD says:

    Can he do anything about them both being horrible, worthless candidates?

  2. Big Al says:

    Yep, just tell the voters it doesn’t matter who’s on the ballot in November, as long as it says ‘Republican’ after the name that’s the person to vote for. Don’t bother thinking for yourself.

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