GOP insiders’ barbs don’t deter Neumann

    Despite growing pressure and nasty remarks from Wisconsin Republican Party insiders, Mark Neumann is vowing not to end his GOP primary campaign for governor.

    The latest salvos against the former Congressman came Monday when Bill McCoshen, a Republican lobbyist and a former top aide to former Gov. Tommy Thompson, sent an e-mail to several prominent state Republicans. McCoshen’s e-mail came after Jim Klauser, Thompson’s former campaign manager, sent a letter to Neumann asking him to drop out of the race.

    "Well done, Jim," McCoshen wrote in his e-mail. "There are a couple more steps the party needs to take to end this nonsense."

    The exchange prompted Owen Robinson, a prominent Wisconsin conservative and author of the Boots & Sabers blog, to write, "As one who knows and speaks with many conservative and Republican activists, there is a palpable disgust with Neumann.  Many people, including myself, have moved from respectful support for a contested primary to outright contempt for Neumann’s campaign tactics.  As I said before, Neumann seems to think he can win a Republican primary without Republicans.  He may be right, but he’s generating so much passion against him as to cripple him in the general election.  I’ve even heard Republicans say that they would vote for (Democrat) Tom Barrett before Mark Neumann.  Why?  Because at least Barrett isn’t a lying crap weasel."

    Meanwhile, Milwaukee conservative talk radio hosts have directed a steady drumbeat of criticisms against Neumann because he will not concede to Walker.

    Regardless of the the pointed jabs, Neumann said this morning he will continue his bid to be governor.

    "I am the only conservative alternative in this race, and I plan to continue to offer that alternative to voters," Neumann said. "We’ve got a long ways to go in this race. I am totally upbeat and optimistic. I have total faith in the people of this state. It’s not meant to be an attack on Scott or anyone else."

    Neumann said the insults are coming from "Republican big wigs." He said, "The people of this state are really sick and tired of this behavior."

    Walker told the Milwaukee Press Club recently that he does not bring up Neumann’s name unless he is asked about him by the media or needs to respond to a verbal attack from his opponent.

    The flap puts Reince Priebus, chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, squarely in the middle. However, Priebus is not taking a neutral stance.

    "We’re going to support Scott Walker 100 percent. So, whatever that means in support, ground operation, money, we’re supporting Scott Walker. That’s it. The beginning and the end," Priebus said. "Mark has every right in the world to run for governor and do what he wants to do, but as far as the state party is concerned, its’ very clear that the grassroots supports Scott Walker. As chairman, that’s what I’m going to do. I make no bones about it. I expect him to win."

    Priebus noted that Neumann received the support of less than 2 percent of the activists at the recent convention of the state GOP. Walker won the endorsement of the majority of those attending the convention.

    However, Priebus added the following caveat: "If, at end of day, Mark Neumann should win the primary, I will be with him 100 percent. We’re not against Mark Neumann. We’re just for Scott Walker. I think this is Scott Walker’s time."

    Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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