Since becoming state GOP chair in 2011, Brad Courtney has seen Scott Walker become the first governor in U.S. history to fend off a recall, Republicans expand their majorities in both houses of the Legislature and his party’s nominee win Wisconsin’s electoral votes for the first time since 1984.
But he’s got one piece of unfinished business — beating Tammy Baldwin.
“We have one more Senate seat we need to take,” Courtney said in a WisPolitics.com interview ahead of next week’s state convention.
Going into last year’s meeting of party activists, Courtney said Wisconsin was in the golden age of Republican and conservative politics. Since then, he’s added U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s re-election and Donald Trump’s win in Wisconsin, declaring next weekend’s convention in the Wisconsin Dells will be a celebration of those successes.
While Baldwin, D-Madison, is a top target next fall for Republicans here and nationally, the GOP still doesn’t have a formal challenger on deck. Several potential candidates are looking into next year’s race: businessman Eric Hovde, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, former Marine and business consultant Kevin Nicholson, political newcomer Nicole Schneider and Sen. Leah Vukmir.
Courtney called it a talented group and said any of them would provide a clear contrast to Baldwin.
Five years ago, a contested GOP primary left then-nominee Tommy Thompson bruised and drained of campaign funds. But Courtney said he’d be fine if a primary developed this time. He said his job in the meantime will be to put together the best ground game the state has ever seen.
“In talking to potential candidates, I’ll go, ‘My promise to you is we have a late primary so we’ll have the best infrastructure in place so whoever wins they can hit the ground running so we can have victory against Tammy next fall,’” he said.
See more for the interview here.