MIDDLETON, Wis. — The 2022 election season is in full throttle Saturday night for Republicans at their state convention in Dane County.
It was a packed convention as candidate after candidate made their pitch to the party faithful.
Former Gov. Scott Walker called on the crowd to endorse Rebecca Kleefisch.
The former lieutenant governor - and only female candidate for governor speaking at the convention - played to the conservative base on a likely big issue in 2022 if the abortion law is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I will not let a man like Tony Evers tell me how I'm supposed to feel about Roe," said Kleefisch. "I will win this because I can speak with a mother's heart with the compassion and empathy for both babies and moms."
Kevin Nicholson wants to be on the ballot in November after an unsuccessful primary run for Senate in 2018.
The Marine veteran and business consultant says more needs to be done to stop the violence by backing the badge.
"We are literally watching the dissolution of law and order in our state. And this is not a crime wave - this is a programmatic attack on the existence of law and order in our society," said Nicholson. "We have seen the doubling of murder rates in cities like Milwaukee and the hollowing out of rural communities due to the scourge of fentanyl pouring over our southern border."
Army Veteran and Wisconsin businessman Tim Michels has shaken up the race with a late entry and multi-million dollar ad campaign.
Michels ran and lost for U.S. Senate nearly 20 years ago. He is expected to largely self-fund his primary race.
"I am not beholden to the PACs, the lobbyists, or the special interests," said Michels. "I refuse their money. Don't need, don't want it, won't take it."
Tim Ramthun sees election integrity as the number one issue in his campaign. The State Representative has pushed ideas that have not been proven in court and suggests the 2020 election was stolen.
"I will never stop pursuing closure for truth and transparency, to get it right, so that we can feel comfortable when we go to the ballot booth," said Ramthun.
Milwaukee native and former police officer Adam Fischer also spoke to the convention.
After all the speeches, delegates were asked to endorse a candidate for governor, but no one won 60% of the required votes to get it.
The no endorsement outcome is what Nicholson wanted, but Kleefisch did get more than 50% of the vote.
There is one key endorsement all the candidates want and it's from former President Donald Trump, who has yet to endorse in the governor's race.
Gov. Evers has already raised millions to take on the Republican challenger after narrowly beating Scott Walker in 2018.
Ben Wikler, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, says state Republicans have stood in the way of efforts by Gov. Evers to address gun violence in Milwaukee and around the state.
"Republicans have gaveled in and gaveled out when the governor called for a special session that would address common sense gun prevention legislation," said Wikler. "Republicans seem like they want to have a problem to run on instead of actually joining hands with the governor to bring solutions."
The state Democratic convention is set to happen next month. TMJ4 will also be at that event.