Republican Neumann won't seek party's endorsement - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Republican Neumann won't seek party's endorsement

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By Bob Schaper - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican Mark Neumann says he doesn't want to be considered for endorsement by his own party.

Neumann's announced his decision Thursday. It clears the way for fellow Republican Scott Walker to get the official GOP endorsement at its convention in Milwaukee on May 22.

Neumann has been presenting himself as the outsider candidate, even though he is running as a Republican and served two terms in Congress in the 1990s as a Republican.

"We believe that the people of Wisconsin should decide the nominee for our party," he told reporters in downtown Madison.

His reason? Scott Walker was sure to get more votes.

"It's clear, it's apparent to me that Scott Walker will be the nominee," Neumann said. "He spent six years courting the folks that are going to this convention."

Neumann said he would attend the convention, and possibly give a speech. But he said it was more important that he win the half a million Republican voters in the primary.

"The fact of the matter is it's less than one half of one percent of the voters will be in this convention next week," he said.

But Walker said if Neumann doesn't want the endorsement, he'll take it.

"It is literally the grassroots conservative activist who are going to be voting on the endorsement and they're precisely the sort of people I want back in my campaign coming in the fall election," Walker said.

But there are practical reasons to want the endorsement, too. First, the party can give up to $700,000 to a candidate. Plus it has other resources, like fundraiser lists.

UW professor and pollster Charles Franklin said Neumann was just making the best of a bad situation.

"One presumes that if it were a much closer race or Neumann were leading, he would certainly welcome the party's endorsement," Franklin said.

Even so, Franklin says Neumann remains a viable candidate.

"There's every reason to believe that the primary will end up being a competitive primary regardless of which of those two candidate wins," he said.

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