GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidates Eric Hovde, Tommy Thompson, Jeff Fitzgerald and Mark Neumann spoke Saturday at the state Republican Party convention.
The four candidates are running for the seat vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl.
Former Gov. Tommy Thompson tells Republicans he should get their endorsement in the U.S. Senate race because he is battle tested and can start to work immediately in rolling back President Barack Obama's policies.
Thompson was the first of the Republican candidates to speak at the convention on Saturday. It takes 60 percent of the votes of delegates to win the party's endorsement.
Thompson says he showed over his 14 years as governor that he knows how to take on Democrats and powerful special interests and transformed Wisconsin. He calls the national debt the greatest threat facing the country.
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann says the country is in "deep trouble" and he has a conservative vision to fix it.
Neumann previously served four years in Congress in the 1990s. He is attempting to portray himself as the most conservative candidate in the race.
Neumann says he believes in smaller government that's less obtrusive in people's lives.
Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald is drawing on his experience leading the fight to pass Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining changes as he tries to win over Republicans to his campaign for the U.S. Senate.
He says he's a proven conservative because he led passage of Walker's bill that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most state workers and spurred the effort to recall Walker.
He describes himself as an Irish guy who likes a good fight. He says all four candidates share similar views on the issues, but he's battle tested because of death threats he endured last year and people protesting on his lawn.
Hedge fund manager Eric Hovde says the country's ethics, morals and standards are eroding and he's the best one to make courageous and principled decisions.
This is Hovde's first race for public office. Hovde largely avoided talking about specific issues in the race, and instead spoke in generalities about his vision. He says the country faces moral and economic collapse, and action must be taken quickly to stop it or the American dream will be lost.
The primary winner will advance to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin.
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