Wisconsin Republicans endorse Leah Vukmir for U.S. Senate - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsin Republicans endorse Leah Vukmir for U.S. Senate

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MILWAUKEE (WKOW)  -- With more than 72 percent of the vote, the Republican Party of Wisconsin Saturday formally endorsed state Sen. Leah Vukmir for U.S. Senate. 

A news release from the Republican Party of Wisconsin said statewide candidates need to earn more than 60 percent of the votes cast at the convention, which is taking place in Milwaukee this weekend, in order to receive the state GOP's endorsement. 

Ben Voelkel, a spokesman for Senator Ron Johnson, told the Associated Press Friday, “A possible convention endorsement is one of many factors in determining who is the strongest candidate to take on Sen. [Tammy] Baldwin." Senator Johnson, had hinted that after the convention closes Sunday, the “weaker” GOP candidate should step down from the race. 

It's not clear if Delafield businessman and former Marine Kevin Nicholson, the other frontrunner for the seat, will be exiting anytime soon. Both Nicholson and Vukmir have received endorsements from many prominent groups and seem determined to beat each other.

Johnson, the senior U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, has been in office since 2011 and is not up for election this year. Senator Tammy Baldwin has been in office since 2013.  

Historically, endorsements are rare but some political watchdogs see them as necessary to strengthen a campaign enough to win. 

Endorsed candidates have access to the party’s infrastructure including donor and voters lists, staff and field offices. 

Vukmir and Nicholson will face each other in the Aug. 14 GOP primary. The winner of that race will be on the ballot against Baldwin in this fall's general election.

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