A little-watched Republican primary is dividing close allies of President Trump as politicians in Washington battle counterparts in Wisconsin for influence over a recently vacated congressional district in a key battleground state.
On one side are Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, who have endorsed Afghanistan war combat veteran and first-time candidate Jason Church. On the other side are former congressman Sean Duffy and former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are backing state Senator Tom Tiffany, a fixture of the GOP establishment in northern Wisconsin. Duffy held the seat until unexpectedly resigning from the House this fall.
Publicly, the factions have downplayed the scuffle, claiming that either Republican would be a good addition to Congress. But privately, both sides want to put their stamp on an important pro-Trump congressional district, installing a critical partner who might prove politically useful down the line.
“I don’t think you’d see Sen. Cotton saying negative things about Tom Tiffany, and you won’t find me saying negative things about Jason Church,” Duffy told the Washington Examiner. “I know what I’m getting for certain with Tom Tiffany, and that’s why I’ve endorsed him — he’s a good conservative.”