MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Republican Party wrapped up its annual convention in Milwaukee on Sunday, May 4th. As expected, the party endorsed Gov. Scott Walker for re-election, but the three-day event was not without drama.
The convention was supposed to be focused on propelling Gov. Walker toward re-election, but a side issue captured headlines during an eventful convention.
The convention started with a stunt. Democratic candidate for governor, Rep. Brett Hulsey dressed as a Confederate soldier to draw attention to a fringe effort in the Republican Party that wanted to assert its right to secede.
"I am here to highlight Gov. Walker and the Republican's racist agenda, and to welcome them to the Confederacy," Rep. Hulsey said.
Rep. Hulsey was met with condemnation from the Republican establishment.
"His efforts and his comments are reprehensible," Gerard Randall, the chair of the Wisconsin GOP African-American Caucus said.
In the end, the proposal to consider allowing secession was voted down.
"The party spoke loudly that we do not support secession," Wisconsin GOP Executive Director Joe Fadness said.
The convention also saw the party formally endorse Gov. Walker, and speeches from Congressman Paul Ryan, and U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.
A common thread in those speeches was the need for Republicans to remain united.
Retiring Congressman Tom Petri, at his final convention, highlighted the theme.
"We have individuals from all parts of the political spectrum here as Republicans! E Pluribus Unum - out of many, one. That's the motto of our country but it's also the story of our party," Petri said.
Fadness called the side issues a distraction.
"We need to be focused on Nov. 4th and what it's going to take to elect Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch and majorities in the Legislature. Anything else is a distraction," Fadness said.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin will hold its annual convention in one month in Wisconsin Dells.