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Republicans Vukmir, Nicholson sign unity pledge in Senate race

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Republican Senate candidates Leah Vukmir and Kevin Nicholson have signed a unity pledge.

The pledge put forward Wednesday by the state party and Sen. Ron Johnson calls on the loser in the August primary to support the winner. The race between Vukmir and Nicholson has already sharply divided many in the party.

Signing the pledge gives the candidate access to the names of potential delegates to the Republican Party convention in May who will be voting on who to endorse.

Both Nicholson and Vukmir tweeted images of the signed pledge Wednesday shortly after it was announced.

Madison businessman Eric Hovde is also considering running. He did not immediately return a text message asking his thoughts on the pledge.

The Republican primary winner will face Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in November.

The spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party says a new Republican unity pledge for the GOP Senate race "shows how nasty their primary has become."

Democratic Party spokesman Brad Bainum says the fact that Republicans felt they needed such a pledge shows have "nasty" the primary is.

Republican leaders began discussing the pledge in September. Johnson says in a statement announcing the pledge that Republicans in Wisconsin should determine who wins the Senate primary not "political experts" from Washington, D.C.

Nicholson is backed by former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

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