GOP clears Wisconsin primary field for President Trump

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 05: U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the White House on January 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Trumps were returning from spending the holidays at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Bach, Florida after last week’s U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian military leader, Major Gen. Qasem Soleimani. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

MADISON — Republicans decided Tuesday to place only President Donald Trump’s name on Wisconsin’s primary ballot this spring, setting up obstacles for any long-shot candidates to challenge him in the state.

A committee made up of Republicans and Democrats met with state election officials in the state Capitol to decide which candidates will be placed on the April 7 primary ballot. The Republican committee members submitted only President Trump’s name; he was approved on a unanimous voice vote.

The Democratic committee members submitted 14 candidates, including Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. They were approved on a unanimous voice vote as well.

The Republican move will make it more difficult but not impossible for other GOP hopefuls such as former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh to get on the GOP primary ballot. They could still be included if they each collect 8,000 signatures by Jan. 28.

Andrew Hitt, chairman of the state Republican Party, said the GOP committee members chose to exclude Weld and Walsh because they haven’t been active in Wisconsin, they haven’t gotten onto ballots in other states and their campaigns didn’t so much as contact the Wisconsin party until Monday. President Trump’s campaign, in contrast, has been working in close conjunction with them, he said.

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