The Latest: Johnson speaks of ‘primal scream of the left’

May 13, 2017 GMT

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on Wisconsin Republican Party convention (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is speaking out against what he calls the “primal scream of the left.”

Johnson wrapped up the Wisconsin Republican Party convention on Saturday by warning that Democrats are angry and looking ahead to the 2018 midterm elections. Republicans at the convention were celebrating their 2016 wins but also looking ahead to next year.

Johnson says Democrats are relentless. He says, “We must be every bit as tenacious and relentless defending our freedom.”

Johnson won re-election last year. He says he’s sticking by his promise to not seek a third term. Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin is up for re-election next year. Several Republicans considering running against her were making the rounds at the convention.



2:35 p.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy says all Democrats have is negativity.

Duffy on Saturday told Wisconsin Republicans at their state convention that Democrats are trying to harness their anger into wins in the 2018 midterm election.

Duffy is accusing Democrats of rioting, engaging in “thuggery” and their heads are spinning around because they are so upset with President Donald Trump.

Duffy was one of Trump’s biggest backers in Wisconsin. He says Republicans should be celebrating that victory, but not be complacent.

Duffy decided against challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin next year when she is up for re-election. A number of other Republicans are considering challenging her and were at the convention this weekend.


2:25 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is thanking Wisconsin Republicans for delivering the state’s 10 electoral votes to President Donald Trump.

Ryan said at the state Republican Party convention Saturday that the GOP has an opportunity to enact its agenda now that they have control of the House, Senate and White House.

Ryan led the effort to pass a House bill that repealed the national health care law enacted by former President Barack Obama. Ryan defended that bill Saturday, saying it delivered on promises Republicans made to undo the law.

The Senate is working on reworking the bill and it’s unclear if Republicans in the House will agree to it.

Ryan is also touting a tax reform package in the House that he says Trump supports.



12:30 p.m.

Democratic attorney general candidate Josh Kaul says Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel should call for a special investigation into Russia’s role in last year’s election.

Kaul reiterated the call Saturday after Schimel criticized Kaul in comments at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention. Schimel attacked Kaul for being lead attorney in a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s voter identification law. He also noted that Kaul had worked for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Wisconsin during a recount of the election results.

Kaul says Wisconsin needs to hear why Schimel won’t join with other attorneys general in calling for a special prosecutor.

Kaul is challenging Schimel in his re-election bid next year.


10:40 a.m.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Attorney General Brad Schimel are both highlighting efforts to fight opioid addiction and drug abuse.

Kleefisch and Schimel both focused on the issue in their speeches at the state Republican Party convention Saturday. Schimel is up for re-election next year and Kleefisch is expected to remain as Gov. Scott Walker’s running mate in his re-election bid.

Kleefisch calls for Republicans to “protect the most vulnerable and most marginalized.” She says the Republican Party is “the party of the little guy. That’s what the Republican Party has always been about.”

Kleefisch also touted Republican opposition to abortion, support for gun rights and called for the GOP to stand united for Israel.


10:15 am.

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel is casting his re-election bid against Democratic challenger Josh Kaul as the choice between a supporter of Wisconsin’s voter identification law and an opponent.

Schimel spoke Saturday at the state Republican Party convention.

Schimel is defending the state in a lawsuit brought by a group of voters who say the law is unconstitutional. Kaul is a lead attorney fighting the law.

Schimel is up for re-election next year.

He is also noting that Kaul worked as an attorney for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in Wisconsin and is the son of former Democratic Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager. The GOP crowd booed with Schimel mentioned her name.

Kaul did not immediately return a message seeking comment.


9:40 a.m.

Gov. Scott Walker says he is “ready” for four more years as governor.

Walker got a standing ovation at Saturday’s Republican Party convention when he said “I am ready to help move Wisconsin forward for four more years.”

Democrats are still searching for a top tier challenger to run against Walker. A number of possible candidates are considering it, while some high profile office holders have passed on a run.

Walker spoke after his son, Alex Walker, also addressed convention attendees. The younger Walker was graduating Saturday from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which led to the governor speaking earlier than normal.

Walker is touting his record as governor and the lowest state unemployment rate since 2000. Democrats say the state has underperformed under Walker and a change in leadership is needed.


9:30 a.m.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is decrying what he calls a “plague of political correctness on our college campuses.”

Vos used his speech at Saturday’s state Republican Party convention to tout a bill that would punish students who disrupt free speech on college campuses. Vos says Wisconsin can be the national leader on the issue by passing the proposal.

Opponents said at a legislative hearing on the measure this week that it would actually quash free speech rather than protect it.

But Vos says liberals are trying to drown out other voices through intimidation. He says, “We all know that’s wrong. It’s time we took a definitive stand against the suppression of ideas.”

He says if students stand in the way of free speech “they should face real consequences like suspension or expulsion.”


8:45 a.m.

Unlike last year at their convention, Wisconsin Republicans are more than happy to talk about Donald Trump.

The president’s victory has been the centerpiece of speeches at the convention on Saturday. Last year many speakers didn’t refer to Trump, even though he was the presumptive nominee. Trump didn’t carry Wisconsin in the primary, but he became the first Republican since 1984 to carry the state in the presidential election.

State party chairman Brad Courtney said Saturday, “I never get tired of saying Republican President Donald Trump.” He also thanked Reince Priebus for helping Trump win. Priebus is Trump’s chief of staff, was Republican National Committee chairman last year and previously was Wisconsin party chairman.

Republicans are also looking ahead to 2018 when Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin are up for re-election.


8:16 a.m.

The Wisconsin Republican Party convention is underway with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson praising the victory of President Donald Trump in the state.

That’s a stark contrast to last year’s convention when Johnson and other Republicans didn’t even mention Trump’s name in their convention speeches. At that time Trump was the presumptive GOP nominee but many in the party were slow to getting behind him.

But on Saturday Johnson kicked off the convention by saying how proud he was that Wisconsin had delivered its 10 electoral votes to Trump in November. Trump was the first Republican to carry Wisconsin since 1984.

Johnson cast Trump’s victory and his own re-election win as “saving” the United States Supreme Court.

There were about 600 people at the meeting.