Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Neumann announced yesterday he’s taking his name off the endorsement ballot when the state Republican Party meets May 21-23 in Milwaukee. Neumann said he’ll still be attending the convention, but that he does not want his name on the endorsement ballot, citing a belief that voters, not party operatives, should decide who the Republican gubernatorial nominee will be, saying, “We believe the elections should be decided by Wisconsin voters and not party leaders who will be meeting in Milwaukee.”
As has been pointed out by others, there’s no doubt Neumann’s decision to withdraw his name from the endorsement ballot had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he had virtually no chance of actually winning the party’s endorsement. To bolster his argument in opposition to the state GOP anointing a preferred gubernatorial candidate, Neumann cited historical precedent, making reference to Lee Sherman Dreyfus’ victory for the governor’s seat in 1978. In that year, the Republican Party had endorsed Bob Kasten, but Dreyfus defeated Kasten and then went on to defeat Acting Gov. Martin Schreiber in the general election.
I give Mark Neumann credit for staying in the Republican gubernatorial race despite the opposition he’s encountered from supporters of Scott Walker and others within the Republican Party, and I’m betting the final results of the Republican gubernatorial primary will be much closer than most folks seem to want to believe.