RACINE — Count Assembly Speaker Robin Vos among those who fear a Donald Trump presidential nomination hurting Republicans in other races this fall.
In a meeting Monday afternoon with The Journal Times Editorial Board, Vos said many conservatives may sit out the election if the New York billionaire appears at the top of the ballot, potentially costing other GOP candidates votes.
“I know quite a few conservatives who have said, ‘I’m not going to vote for somebody who isn’t a conservative.’ Because on certain things, I’m not sure he is,” Vos, R-Rochester, said of Trump.
“If a big chunk of folks decide to stay home but they’re disproportionately Republican, all the way down the ticket — from state Legislature to county treasurer to U.S. Senate — we could have less people voting for us.”
Vos, who is state co-chairman of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s Wisconsin campaign, said he is “cautiously optimistic somebody like Marco Rubio will eventually be the nominee.”
If not, Vos didn’t rule out voting for Trump, saying “my assumption is I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is.”
State Rep. Thomas Weatherston, R-Caledonia, who also met with the JT Editorial Board on Monday, said he would prefer if Rubio or, better yet, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gets the nomination. But if Trump “is the only name on the ticket, I guess I’ll have to vote for him,” he said.
In play on Nov. 8
Wisconsin features a slate of races Nov. 8, including a U.S. Senate seat, half of the state Senate and all state Assembly and U.S. House seats.
A Trump candidacy would come as Republicans enjoy majorities in the state Assembly and Senate and are trying to hold onto U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s seat, with early polls showing him trailing former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold.
The speaker’s comments came a day before “Super Tuesday,” which features 10 states holding nominating contests for both Republicans and Democrats.
The night could play a huge role in each party’s nomination. Trump has already won three of the first four contests and leads nationally and in many states.
“All I know is whoever the nominee is, I want it to be somebody I am proud to vote for and happy to articulate a mirror of their version,” Vos said.
“I’m not going to be talking about how tall the wall is,” said Vos, referring to Trump’s frequent campaign call to have a wall constructed between the U.S. and Mexico to stem illegal immigration.