Robin Vos to Kevin Nicholson: 'You need to not run for governor.' Assembly speaker's comments spark intraparty spat in GOP

·2 min read
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, left, and potential GOP gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson, right.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, left, and potential GOP gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson, right.

MADISON – The Republican leader of the state Assembly on Wednesday told a likely GOP candidate for governor to stay out of the race, only to be told to mind his own business.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester said Kevin Nicholson, a former candidate for U.S. Senate, should change his plans to enter the governor's race this week — calling his entrance a problem for Republicans' effort to defeat incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

"If Kevin Nicholson is listening — you need to not run for governor," Vos said during an interview at a Wednesday event hosted by Wispolitics.com in downtown Madison.

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Nicholson, who is expected to announce his run this week, shot back — telling Vos to get his own house in order.

"Thanks, @repvos, for the political advice," Nicholson tweeted. "Our elections are a mess, law & order is eroding, schools are failing. How about you focus on doing your job?"

Vos said Wednesday that former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who announced a run for governor in September, should remain the only prominent Republican in the primary or Evers could win reelection.

"I think if he runs, it hurts our chances to defeat Gov. Evers. But I can’t control that. If he runs, he runs," Vos told the Madison-based Capital Times.

More: Billionaire GOP benefactor Liz Uihlein spends $220K on Rebecca Kleefisch in governor's race

Vos' comments come two days after Nicholson criticized Republicans in the "political class" for not overhauling the state Department of Public Instruction and changing the position of state superintendent to an appointed cabinet office.

“Our political class — Republicans included — have allowed this DPI monstrosity to continue all these years," Nicholson said in a Monday appearance on WIBA radio in Madison.

Nicholson, a Waukesha County business owner and Marine veteran, also called for closing failing schools and implementing "universal school choice." He did not respond to questions about how he would accomplish his goals if elected.

Contact Molly Beck at molly.beck@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MollyBeck.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Robin Vos to Kevin Nicholson: 'You need to not run for governor'