- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Latest on reaction to U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy deciding against U.S. Senate run (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party says the Republican Senate primary race is shaping up to be a “circus.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy announced Thursday that he would not run for the Senate next year against incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin. At least seven other Republicans are being mentioned as potential candidates.

Democratic Party spokeswoman Gillian Drummond says “the Republican establishment in Washington is scrambling to avoid a divisive, messy Republican primary in Wisconsin.”



Drummond says “No matter what circus emerges, Tammy Baldwin will continue to stand up to the powerful interests in Washington and fight for a Wisconsin economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

___

11:30 a.m.

A former Marine and former Democrat says he is “strongly considering” a run for U.S. Senate as a Republican next year.

Kevin Nicholson issued a statement Thursday after Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy said he would not be running for Senate against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Nicholson is one of several Republicans considering getting in the race. Duffy would have been seen as the front-runner had he gotten in and his departure could result in a large GOP primary.

Nicholson says he is an “outsider” and knows firsthand the challenges facing Wisconsin families and “the sacrifices made by those who help keep us safe.”

Nicholson is former chairman of the College Democrats of America and served in the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.

___

9:59 a.m.

Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir (VOOK-meer) says she was seriously considering running for U.S. Senate before U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy announced he would not be a candidate.

And Vukmir said Thursday with the news that he’s out, she is moving forward with evaluating whether to get in. Vukmir says she has no timeline for when she will make a final decision.

Vukmir lives in Brookfield and has been in the state Legislature since 2003. She is one of several Republicans considering a Senate run next year against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Vukmir says she is evaluating whether she’s the best person to run, if she can put together a team and raise money for the race that’s expected to be a target for both Republicans and Democrats.

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