Donald Trump is poised to be unopposed in Wisconsin’s primary after the Presidential Preference Selection Committee decided Tuesday against adding any other Republicans to the April 7 ballot.
The committee, comprised equally of representatives from the state GOP and Dem parties, also placed 14 Dems on the ballot.
Republican Party of Wisconsin Chair Andrew Hitt told reporters after the meeting there was “not really any activity” by other GOP presidential candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, of Illinois.
Hitt said neither Weld or Walsh contacted RPW until Monday. That was in stark contrast with Trump’s campaign, which he said was “very supportive” of the state party.
“There’s just certainly a commitment there to work together, something that we didn’t see from the other candidates,” he said.
Republican parties in several other states have canceled their primaries, saying they weren’t needed because Trump is overwhelmingly popular with their voters. But critics have suggested the moves were designed to shield the president from the possibility of a poor showing.
Walsh’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment. But he tweeted, “So yet another state in America wants to disenfranchise its voters. That would make 10 states in which Republican Party bosses have cancelled (sic) primaries. All to protect their King. This isn’t Russia. This isn’t China. This kind of un-American bullshit shouldn’t happen here.”
Meanwhile, Weld tweeted, “Donald Trump’s party bosses in Wisconsin just told millions of voters they don’t deserve a choice in the Republican primary. That’s not how a democracy works, and certainly not the way the party of competition and freedom should work.”
The partisan members of the committee submitted proposed the names they wanted to see on their respective party primary ballots in April, and the slates were approved without debate.
The 14-person Dem field the committee approved includes: former Vice President Joe Biden; U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, of Colorado, Cory Booker, of New Jersey, Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former U.S. Rep. John Delaney, of Maryland; U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, of Hawaii; former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; and businessmen Tom Steyer, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.
Under state statute, those seeking to make the ballot must be “generally recognized or advocated in the national news media” but the “Committee is the sole judge of that criteria.”
Those who didn’t receive the committee’s blessing can still qualify for the ballot by gathering at least 8,000 signatures by Jan. 28. That includes between 1,000 and 1,500 signatures in each of the state’s eight congressional districts.
By comparison, statewide candidates for Wisconsin offices have to gather a minimum of 2,000 signatures over a six-week period to qualify for the ballot.
Weld’s campaign said no decision has been made on trying to collect signatures, though a spokesman called it a “difficult task in a short period of time.”