Sorry Trump, Duffy rejects your plea to ‘Run Sean, Run!’

By: - January 6, 2022 2:12 pm

Sean Duffy and Donald Trump (from Sean Duffy’s Congressional Instagram account)

A former right-wing Republican congressman and supporter of Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is not going to be following the advice of the former president.

Trump was publicly pushing former northern Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy to run for governor. “Working hard to get very popular and capable Former Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin to run for Governor. He would be fantastic!” Trump said in a statement in October. “A champion athlete, Sean loves the people of Wisconsin, and would be virtually unbeatable…Run Sean, Run!”

Duffy did not respond to Trump’s entreaties at the time, but broke his silence on that topic on the anniversary of the D.C. Capitol insurrection when he joined a conservative WISN talk radio show and announced he would not run for governor in 2022 or for senator.

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch speaks at WisPolitics event.
Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch

Sen. Ron Johnson has still not said if he will run for reelection, but Duffy backing away was taken as a sign by political observers that Johnson may indeed be running. His comments also cleared away another serious potential challenger to Rebecca Kleefisch, the former lieutenant governor, who is the only high-profile candidate running against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Speculation continues to surround Republican businessman Kevin Nicholson who ran for Senate in 2018 with major backing from Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, before losing in a primary to former state Sen. Leah Vukmir, who went on to lose to Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Nicholson has spent at least $500,000 on advertisements and formed a nonprofit group he dubbed No Better Friend chastising Democrats for supporting so-called  critical race theory and trashing President Joe Biden — giving the strong impression that he will launch a statewide campaign of some kind. Last September he confirmed his interest in running for Senate or the governor’s office to TMJ4’s Charles Benson, who asked him, “Is it fair to say that Kevin Nicholson’s name will be on the ballot in 2022?” At the time Nicholson responded, “Yes, it is.” But he has not made any announcement.

In 2019, Duffy stepped down during his fifth term in Congress to spend more time with his family that includes nine children. To run for governor a person needs to be a Wisconsin voter, which requires being at their address for 28 days prior to voting. Duffy assured Jay Weber’s radio audience that even though he has moved to New Jersey and sold his Wisconsin home and continues to focus on his kids, “If an opportunity presents itself I’d like to come back and partake in Wisconsin politics.”


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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.