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Saturday, October 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 56.0° F  Fair
The Daily
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Leinenkugel ends senate campaign; Ron Johnson favorite at GOP convention

Leiney is out. After receiving 0.5% of the GOP Convention vote, he withdrew his candidacy and endorsed Ron Johnson who surprisingly garnered 51.6% of the vote on the first ballot!

Saying it was not his time, former Commerce Secretary Dick Leinenkugel announced today that he is dropping out of the GOP race for U.S. Senate and endorsed Ron Johnson.
Leinenkugel has received a rough reception from some Republicans since getting into the Senate race because of his time as Commerce secretary in Dem Gov. Jim Doyle's cabinet.
"It's not my time. It's Ron Johnson's time," Leinenkugel told the crowd. "That's why I'm endorsing him and giving him my full support to electing Ron Johnson as the next United States senator."

Lame. The least popular guy endorses the most popular guy. But damn, look at Ron Johnson go! Terrence Wall only got 23 percent of the vote -- only eight points ahead of underdog candidate Dave Westlake. The GOP sees something in Johnson that Wall lacks. Wall comes off as too phony, too mechanic. I suspect the GOP fears he would be humiliated in a head-to-head with Feingold. Johnson, who has spoken at Tea Parties across the state, has a little more fire in his belly. And I wonder if the issue of Wall's contributions to Democrats has ever come up...

Now about Leiney...Generally, when I hear about a political action, my first instinct is to believe it is founded in some type of reason. Some polling data, some wise counsel from a seasoned consultant, etc. Leinenkugel's bizarre campaign goes to show how that assumption can be misleading. Politicians and their consultants are not all-knowing. They can make huge miscalculations, and sometimes, they really just don't know what they're doing. It's one thing to run knowing you'll lose. Maybe you can get your name out there, establish a platform for a future campaign. But 0.5 percent? Feingold himself would have done better at the GOP convention.

There is no evidence that Leinenkugel felt out a run with other Republicans before he declared. He definitely didn't get the nod from party chair Reince Preibus, who made sure to express his skepticism of Leinenkugel publicly before the convention. He also had no base of support. In fact, most of the political connections he had were in the Democratic Party, for whom he had held fundraisers. No Republicans owed him favors.

Just for fun, here's a conspiracy theory: Leinenkugel never intended to mount a serious campaign and was enlisted to run just so he could withdraw and endorse Johnson. Of course, the next question is, does Johnson really want the endorsement of the guy with dubious party credentials and no support? Haha, maybe Leiney is working for Wall then.

WIspolitics is live-blogging the GOP convention. The final tally of the second round of voting for Senate endorsement is expected soon.

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