Outgoing politicians J.B. Van Hollen and Tom Petri say “goodbye”

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Outgoing Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is bidding farewell through a video at the GOP state convention.

J.B. Van Hollen

J.B. Van Hollen

Van Hollen announced last year he would not seek re-election this fall. Ismael Ozanne, Susan Happ and Jon Richards all are vying for the Democratic nomination. Brad Schimel is the only Republican in the race.

Van Hollen appeared via a short video presentation at the convention in Milwaukee on Saturday. He apologized for not appearing in person but promised he would attend the convention's prayer breakfast on Sunday. He didn't offer any explanation for his absence and a state Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Van Hollen told delegates he has worked to protect their freedom and uphold the rule of law. He implored delegates to support Schimel.

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U.S. Representative Tom Petri is saying goodbye at the state Republican convention in Milwaukee.

Tom Petri

Tom Petri

Petri, a moderate, has held the 6th Congressional District seat for 35 years. He decided last month to retire rather than face a primary challenge this fall from state Senator Glenn Grothman, one of the most conservative lawmakers in the Legislature. Senator Joe Leibham, a Sheboygan Republican, and Representative Duey Stroebel, a Saukville Republican, have since jumped into the race. So have Democrats Gary Wetzel and Mark Harris.

Petri sounded broad themes during his farewell speech at the convention Saturday. He called on Republicans to embrace diversity, noting the party was founded by people of varied political stripes.

He left the stage to a standing ovation.

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