Former Senate candidate launches bid for governor in Wisconsin

Former Wisconsin Senate hopeful Kevin Nicholson (R) announced that he was running for governor in Wisconsin, putting an end to the speculation after he signaled a potential gubernatorial bid earlier this month.

"At a crucial point in history, Wisconsin has lost its way," Nicholson said in an op-ed published by the news outlet Wisconsin Right Now. "Our state and our society are being torn apart by a shameless and ineffective political class whose leadership failures have destroyed businesses and crushed Wisconsin's economy."

The former Senate hopeful highlighted issues such as critical race theory, rising crime and election integrity, and touted himself as a political outsider, pointing to his experience as a former Marine-turned-businessman.

"I won't stray from worthy battles, and I will never bend the knee to the woke mob - or to the political class. I lead from the front and I don't back down - much to the chagrin of many insiders. I've served my country, and I'm ready to serve this state to help Wisconsin live up to its true potential as the greatest state in the nation," he wrote.

Earlier this month, Nicholson acknowledged that he was considering a run for governor after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) announced he would be seeking another term.

"It's no secret that I'm considering a run for Governor. It is time for new leadership in Wisconsin. We deserve a Governor who shares our values, works for our kids, stands up for law enforcement, defends life, and secures our elections," Nicholson wrote in a tweet on Jan. 9.

Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Noam Lee called Nicholson an "extremist" in a statement on his candidacy, noting his past comments calling former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R), another Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate, "dumb as a bag of hammers."

"Nicholson's entrance to the GOP primary will trigger a brutal, expensive race to the right where candidates duke it out over who's most out-of-touch with Wisconsin values," Lee said.

Kleefisch became a favorite in the GOP primary after former Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), whom former President Trump had pushed to enter the race, announced he would not be seeking the governor's office.

Kleefisch's campaign told The Hill earlier this month that since she launched her campaign last September, she raised $3.3 million.