Kevin Nicholson announces to Wisconsin Right Now and The Regular Joe that he’s running for governor.
Kevin Nicholson, the former combat veteran and U.S. Marine who ran No Better Friend, Corp., officially announced that he is running for governor on January 27, 2022. Instead of a traditional announcement, Nicholson announced that he was running for governor to only two news outlets: Wisconsin Right Now and The Regular Joe Show. He also urged Wisconsinites to not choose a governor who is from the “same, tired political class,” and criticized critical race theory, the handling of elections, and spiking violent crime.
Read his column to Wisconsin Right Now here, which announces his run. No Better Friend is a conservative public policy group in Wisconsin, Nicholson served his country in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Nicholson announced he was running for governor as a Republican in a column to Wisconsin Right Now that is titled, “I’m Running to be your Governor.” His campaign team confirmed that he’s in, and that he would be on The Regular Joe at 9 a.m. to make a simultaneous announcement with the Wisconsin Right Now column.
Wisconsin Right Now, which is based in southeastern Wisconsin, is the #1 Alexa ranked independent, online news site in Wisconsin and has a large following among conservatives throughout the state. The Regular Joe Show is a conservative talk radio program in the Fox Valley on WTAQ. Nicholson seems to be ripping a page from Donald Trump’s anti-establishment, anti-elite, presidential primary in 2016, when the former president ran against the GOP establishment and the elite legacy news media. The Associated Press also announced that Nicholson was running on Thursday morning based on his website going live but not from a release from Nicholson or his campaign.
“At a crucial point in history, Wisconsin has lost its way. Our state and our society are being torn apart by a shameless and ineffective political class whose leadership failures have destroyed businesses and crushed Wisconsin’s economy,” Nicholson wrote in the Wisconsin Right Now column announcing his run. He also called critical race theory “intellectual poison” and said that law and order is falling apart and elections are a “mess,” with politicians “incapable of cleaning them up.”
His entrance into the race sets the stage for a competitive and, perhaps, bruising primary. The other candidates are former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is backed by the state’s last Republican Gov. Scott Walker. She has been running for months and racking up endorsements, including in the law enforcement community and with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. Small business owner Jonathan Wichmann is also running an anti-establishment campaign in the state. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos caused headlines last week when he urged Nicholson not to run and indicated he is supporting Kleefisch; however, over the weekend, in Manitowoc, Nicholson made it clear that he won’t shy away from running against the Republican Party, criticizing state GOP head Paul Farrow to his face at an event.
Kleefisch’s campaign hasn’t provided comment on Nicholson entering the race.
Wichmann told Wisconsin Right Now: “I can appreciate Kevin Nicholson’s desire to run for governor, but I believe his timing and chosen race is not in alignment with what Wisconsinites need right now. I chose to run for governor because of weak leadership, failure to uphold our Constitution, stale fiscal policies, and overall lack of vision coming out of Madison. Running for governor was never my second choice. The people of Wisconsin deserve fresh ideas and someone who is committed to fighting against tyranny and government overreach like I have been successfully doing since May 2020. I will remain steadfast in serving the people of Wisconsin and continuing the fight for medical freedom, economic prosperity, and school choice regardless of who enters the gubernatorial race.”
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is considered vulnerable on a host of issues, including his inability to get the National Guard to Kenosha immediately to deal with rioters; comments that have angered police throughout the state; problems with getting people unemployment benefits, and his response to the COVID-19 pandemic and hot-button issues like CRT.
Nicholson was previously defeated by Leah Vukmir in a U.S. Senate primary to take on Tammy Baldwin. There remains some bitter feelings in the Republican base over that race; some believe that the bloody primary with Nicholson forced Vukmir to spend her money and hobbled her for the Baldwin contest, although others believe she lost because she was not the strongest candidate. Since then, Nicholson has run No Better Friend, Corp., which has been holding well-attended events throughout Wisconsin on issues like CRT and backing law enforcement. He had previously made it clear he was considering a run for U.S. Senate also but abandoned that idea when Republican Ron Johnson announced he was running again.
No Better Friend’s platform focuses on “defending life. Support law enforcement. Honor those who have served. Fight critical race theory. Ensure free and fair elections. Protect and improve education.” Its website promises to “move the conservative movement forward.” The group launched a $1.5 million ad campaign in September.
Nicholson was a former president of the College Democrats of America who gave a speech on abortion rights to the 2000 Democratic convention. That caused controversy among Republicans during the Vukmir race and is certain to come up again, although Nicholson’s group supports pro-life issues, including helping groups that offer pregnancy resources to help women choose life. Nicholson has said that he became more conservative as he aged, had a family, and served in combat through the U.S. military.
Nicholson’s efforts to reshape Wisconsin will be well-financed; Richard Uihlein, one of the most powerful conservative donors in the country and the CEO of Uline in Pleasant Prairie, set the stage for Nicholson’s announcement by releasing a statement strongly urging him to run. You can read that statement here.
“There are very few people that can shake things up in the state; Kevin is one of them. He’s an outsider who bravely served as a Marine commander and has built a career in business while also galvanizing conservatives throughout the state through No Better Friend Corp.,” Uihlein said.
In his column to Wisconsin Right Now, Nicholson said the state needs someone with leadership skills to clean up the problems.
“Our children are taught the intellectual poison of critical race theory, which encourages them to hate each other based on their race. Our very notion of law and order is falling apart before our eyes as violent crime skyrockets. Our elections are a mess, and our politicians seem incapable of cleaning them up. We can’t take Wisconsin to new heights if we elect a Governor from the same, tired political class that lacks the vision, ability, and will to fight for the future of our state. Wisconsin needs someone with solutions to the problems plaguing our state – and the leadership skills to implement those solutions.”
Nicholson’s column describes him as “running for Governor to fight for Wisconsin’s future. He is a businessman, the former volunteer president and CEO of No Better Friend Corp., a conservative public policy group in Wisconsin, and a combat veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps (Iraq, 2007 and Afghanistan, 2008-2009).”
His website gives this bio for Kevin Nicholson:
“Kevin Nicholson is a husband, father of three, businessman, and highly decorated combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps (Iraq: 2007; Afghanistan: 2008-2009). Born and raised in Wisconsin, he and his family now live in Delafield.
Kevin ran for the U.S. Senate for the same reason he joined the Marine Corps while America was at war: because America is worth fighting for. Our nation’s financial, economic, and national security problems are large –and growing exponentially. Kevin and his family believe conservatives with real-world experience need to step up and provide solutions.
The sum total of his experiences in the Marine Corps, in combat, and in business have made Kevin a strong advocate for common sense, conservative principles.”