Laughing Off "Unity" Pledge, Kevin Nicholson Further Escalates Nasty GOP Primary Conflict with Leah Vukmir

Apr 30, 2018

For Immediate Release
Monday, April 30, 2018
Contact: Brad Bainum,

Laughing Off “Unity” Pledge, Kevin Nicholson Further Escalates Nasty GOP Primary Conflict with Leah Vukmir

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson imposed the pledge in January, after months of Nicholson-Vukmir infighting

MADISON — In an interview that aired Sunday on WKOW-TV’s Capital City Sunday, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson officially shredded the so-called “unity pledge” that U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson forced Nicholson and his GOP opponent, Leah Vukmir, to sign in January, after months of infighting

The unity pledge, put forth by Johnson and the Republican Party of Wisconsin, called on Nicholson and Vukmir to commit to: 

[A] respectful pursuit of the endorsement of grassroots conservatives at state convention and the Republican nomination, running a campaign focused on defeating Senator Tammy Baldwin, and supporting whoever the Republican nominee is when the primary is over.

Despite their pledge, Vukmir and Nicholson have nevertheless spent the past four months focused on attacking and disrespecting not just each other, but — at least in Nicholson’s case — even Gov. Scott Walker’s family members and Wisconsin grassroots Republican activists.

Here’s a curated timeline of Vukmir and Nicholson’s steadily escalating personal attacks since each signed the unity pledge in January:

January 4 — Five hours after signing the unity pledge, Vukmir attacks Nicholson over his Steve Bannon support.

January 22 — Reince Priebus endorses Vukmir and questions Nicholson’s integrity: “I just find this all too convenient, all too contrived and I just don’t buy it.”

March 6 — Vukmir attacks Nicholson for being “a D.C. candidate.”

March 14 — Vukmir and Nicholson’s campaigns publicly fight over their debate schedule, and Vukmir’s campaign manager mockingly refers to Nicholson’s campaign spokesperson as a “good kid.”

March 26 — Nicholson’s sister-in-law attacks Vukmir for being a “swamp creature” (and Scott Walker for being a “sissy”). 

March 29 — Nicholson suggests that First Lady and Vukmir supporter Tonette Walker is lying about his refusal to shake hands with her son, Alex.

April 10 — Nicholson’s campaign claims “the political establishment in the Madison bubble” is “trying to rig” the state GOP convention for Vukmir.

April 10 — Vukmir says Nicholson “clearly doesn’t understand…Wisconsin grassroots.”

April 26 — Vukmir says Wisconsinites can’t trust Nicholson: “We know more about Kevin’s track record as a Democrat than we do about his track record as a Republican.” 

April 29 — Nicholson says “None of [the Walker-Vukmir agenda] resulted in anything” and laughs when asked whether the unity pledge is being upheld.

“Despite Ron Johnson and the Wisconsin Republican Party’s best efforts, Vukmir and Nicholson can’t stop finding new ways to tear each other down,” said Brad Bainum, DPW spokesperson for the 2018 Senate race. “But no matter how personal their attacks get, Vukmir and Nicholson can’t distract from their deeply unpopular, hardline agenda that’s a giveaway to their right-wing billionaire donors at the expense of Wisconsinites.”

Watch Nicholson laughing off Sen. Ron Johnson’s unity pledge here: