ASHWAUBENON — None of the four Republican candidates for U.S. Senate were able to capture 60 percent support at the state party convention Saturday, meaning no one will get the party's official endorsement.
By a narrow margin of three percent, State Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald took top polling at the Wisconsin Republican Convention.
"There's a lot of support for what we've done in the past year-and-a-half, and what I've done as speaker, and I think that resonates here,” said Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald's success came as a surprise to some in the party's leadership. However, he failed to get the 60 percent of the delegate vote necessary after three rounds of voting.
Former Congressman Mark Neumann came in a close second in balloting. Neumann says it's due to his detailed plan to slash spending.
"I've come up with a plan to cut 150 different line item cuts to the budget,” said Neumann.
While he spoke to large cheers from the crowd earlier, former Governor Tommy Thompson came in third. He was not available for comment after the votes were tallied.
"I think it's sad for Governor Thompson because he's been a four time governor and the fact that he's going to have to drop out last here is rather shocking to me,” said Eric Hovde, when he was asked about the final finishing in the polls.
Political newcomer and businessman Hovde came in last. However, he says he's doing better in recent polls, and there's plenty of time to go until the election.
Democrats say the lack of an endorsement will benefit their party. The only candidate running so far: Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.
"This is a very divided party right now. They've lurched so far to the right and the Tea Party has taken over and they don't know who they are anymore. It's going to be a divided party,” said Graeme Zielinski.
Republicans say come November, they will find one of these four candidates to throw their full support behind.
The seat is open due to the retirement of Democratic Senator Herb Kohl. It is seen as a key race for Democrats to win in order to retain control of the Senate.
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