Republican Martin joins crowded lieutenant governor race

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A former official in two prior Republican gubernatorial administrations joined the crowded GOP lieutenant governor’s race on Tuesday.

Will Martin, who served under both Tommy Thompson and Scott Walker, becomes the seventh announced Republican candidate for the position that carries little power or responsibility. The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will be paired with whoever wins the GOP primary for governor.

Martin said his experience owning a small business for 20 years and working under Thompson and Walker will inform his work as lieutenant governor. In the Walker administration, he worked for the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority and the Department of Workforce Development.

Other Republican candidates for lieutenant governor include state Sen. Patrick Testin of Stevens Point; Lancaster Mayor David Varnam; Ben Voelkel, former communications director for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson; David King, founder of Wisconsin God Squad; Cindy Werner, who narrowly lost the 4th Congressional District Republican primary in 2020; and political newcomer Kyle Yudes of Eau Claire.

There is also a wide open field on the Democratic side since current Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is running for U.S. Senate. Announced Democratic candidates include state Rep. David Bowen, of Milwaukee, state Rep. Sara Rodriguez, of Brookfield, and state Sen. Len Taylor, of Milwaukee.