The Jay Weber Show

The Jay Weber Show

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No endorsement from the State GOP

Jay Weber Show transcript 5-23-22 7:10am

So- the Republican leaders who showed up at the state convention this weekend- refused to endorse any of the four candidates for governor.

We talked about this possibility last week, when Kevin Nicholson and others representing the county parties were pushing for a ‘no endorsement’ option to be among those offered.

Well. The delegates first approved that option.

And then it was used to keep Rebecca Kleefisch from getting the party’s endorsement by a narrow margin after three rounds of voting.

And the few stories that i saw on this did not detail how close Kleefisch was to getting it: a candidate needed at least 60 percent of the vote to get the official party endorsement, and after the third round of voting, Kleefisch came up just short with 55 percent of the vote.

So- she got awful close.

Still-it’s a significant setback for her campaign- beyond the personal embarrassment that might come along with it-

And frankly-there shouldn’t be any.

I was the first, i believe, to report that Kleefisch’s campaign was working behind the scenes to engineer this endorsement for her-and they started very early. Many, many, months ago-before either Kevin Nicholson or Tim Michaels were in the race...

And I’m going to guess that if Michel’s hadn’t have hopped into this race a few weeks ago-Kleefisch would have gotten this party endorsement.

It’s just a guess-but I’m certain I’m right on that-given how these vote totals played out Saturday.

And so, Kleefisch’s camp shouldn’t feel like this is an embarrassing defeat, simply because they couldn’t pull it off. They gave it a good attempt and were ‘on it’ early. Which shows an aggressiveness I like.

But this-is- a significant loss for the Kleefisch campaign for this reason: the official party endorsement would have given her access to the state party’s donor list, and network turnout operation, and perhaps even some GOP funding.

And now none of that is available to her.

And it shows how competitive this primary race for governor really is: this was a huge number of delegates-

Fifteen hundred delegates attended the convention on Saturday....and only after a

‘No endorsement’ option was added, did Kleefisch’s team fall just short of the 60 percent threshold.

But it is in keeping with the reports that we’ve been getting from the county level GOP gatherings, correct?

We’ve been hearing about a generic ‘grumbling’ and ‘discontent’ with the party’s faithful this year. We’ve had two of the three earlier candidates getting the biggest applause from these crowds, for criticizing the Madison establishment.

And so-if the endorsement is seen as a way for the ‘establishment’ to select the candidate...well...a sizable group of grassroots delegates rejected that idea this weekend.

I’ve already gotten the question: If Tim Ramthun managed to get more of the delegate vote than Kevin Nicholson did- what does that say about Nicholson? His showing was pathetic.

Nicholson only got 3 percent of the delegate votes, true, but the caveat on that is: he has campaigned for months -against- any party endorsement. He campaigned for the ‘no endorsement’ you heard on Wednesday when i spoke with him...

And he was asking the delegates-not- to vote for him, but to vote instead for ‘no endorsement’. And i assume that’s what his supporters did.

And so- no-his three percent should not be taken as some ‘weak support’ for Nicholson.

His far bigger worry is the only nine percent showing in the recent public policy poll.He’s been in this race longer than Tim Michels has...and we’ve seen three or four polls now that showed Kleefisch way out in front when Nicholson was her only credible challenger.

He'd narrowed the gap a little bit-then seemed to backslide.

But then Michels gets in and -at least temporarily here- seems to grab nearly half of Kleefisch’s supporters?

That’s making a splash of the sort that Kevin Nicholson hasn’t been able to make.

I believe Kevin got into the race in January...and so that means he’s been campaigning for about four months without moving the needle much- even before Michels got in. And there now about three months left here...

I frankly don’t see Nicholson’s path forward. Not if he’s going to be swamped by millions of dollars’ worth of ads from the Michels and Kleefisch campaigns.  

I hate to say it-but I’m simply being honest, and saying what most insiders are thinking: what is Nicholson’s path to victory, here?

His best chance would be to simply hang in-and hope that Michels and Kleefisch start ripping each other apart in the final weeks of the primary...but that doesn’t seem likely to me. Given the tenor-and track- of the Michels campaign: since the day he got in, he’s been saying conciliatory things about Kleefisch and Nicholson...while making it clear he is looking past them...and seeing the real fight as the one against Tony Evers. And it’s not a bad strategy.


Here’s a twist: Senator Ron Johnson-did-get the official party endorsement as the incumbent in his senate race-which is no surprise-

You also might have heard that speaker Robin Vos got booed when he said the 2020 results cannot be decertified.... which is something many in the crowd didn’t want to hear... the first person on talk radio who was willing to state that simple truth...and state that Timothy Ramthun is running a campaign based on a false didn’t surprise me.

I took heat for stating it, too, and then proving it with experts-

But it doesn’t mean Vos is wrong.

It simply means he’s delivering unpopular news.

Thanks to people like myself and Robin Vos, and Rick Essenberg- I believe most republicans in SE Wisconsin now understand that, even if they don’t like it.

It is the main reason that i encouraged speaker Vos to come onto the program and spend that hour with us, as he did-

And had Rick Essenberg on when he volunteered. As backstory here: i don’t believe that in the entire history of either of our careers-Rick Essenberg or his people at will have ever said ‘rick wants to come on the show to talk about this’...this...controversial thing.’

But they did in this instance. It struck me as Essenberg probably watching all of the nonsense surrounding it-and wanting to clear it up, too, so that we could all get past it.

And so, he came on the show and explained why there was no legal process for doing so.

And i believe that-by and large- conservative voters understand that the 2020 election cannot be decertified or overturned...and so many disappointments in life...we need to live with that fact....

And make any reaction to it- productive-which Vos and our state lawmakers have they-did-pass an important package of electoral reforms clarifying drop boxes, and Zucker bucks, and all of the rest...only to have Tony Evers veto it.

And so- vote a republican into the governor’s office- so they can complete the reforms.

I know the Gub candidates found it beneficial to make Robin Vos a villain here, but he’s not, and the rest is simply ‘deflecting’ anger onto him.

So- the grassroots need to focus that anger and defeat Evers and the democrats this November. And I believe we will.

There is-no doubt-that republican and conservative Wisconsinites are pumped up to vote this fall-

And I have no doubt that Republican and conservative voters in Wisconsin are smart enough and adult enough to put party squabbles aside when it really matters-and it’s time to vote.

In fact, it’s primarily the left-leaning media that’s making such a big deal out of all of this.

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