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He left the Democratic Party and served in the Marines. Now he’s running for Senate in Wisconsin

(Kevin Nicholson via AP)

Even though the 2018 midterm elections are more than a year away, the media is buzzing over the potential runs of Kid Rock in Michigan and Caitlyn Jenner in California for U.S. Senate seats. However, there’s a new challenger in Wisconsin who has a good shoot at padding the GOP’s majority in the Senate.

Kevin Nicholson, 39, of Delafield, Wisconsin, who served in the Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan, has become the first major Republican challenger to Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s (D) seat in 2018. Nicholson, in an interview with Red Alert Politics, said that identity politics drew him to the conservative movement after being the president of the College Democrats who spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

“I’m an experiential learner,” Nicholson said noting that his late-grandfather, his “biggest political influence,” loved Franklin D. Roosevelt and constantly made fun of Ronald Reagan. “I went to Washington as president of the College Democrats, and I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t like seeing a party that was intentionally dividing people by the color of their skin, by their gender, and pitting them against each other. That’s the Democrats’ vision for the future of this country, and I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

He also noted that people “looked at him like he was crazy” when he said he was going to join the Marine Corps in the middle of two wars. After serving in both Iraq (as part of the 2007 surge) and Afghanistan, he was incensed by President Obama undoing what he and thousands of other troops fought for by pulling out of these countries prematurely.

“I saw things go from bad to good,” Nicholson said of the 2007 Iraqi troop surge. “I was furious when I was in Iraq and I was hearing candidates like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Richardson criss-crossing the United States and lying about the progress we have made as part of the surge. And I watched subsequently as Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin […] threw away the progress that we had made in Iraq by pulling out prematurely and give rise to ISIS.”

Nicholson continued to say that every step was an “education” for him that molded him into being more conservative, in addition to running the school newspaper in college and living in Wyoming as a “cowboy” to “toughen” him up and learn about agriculture.

While Nicholson said he agreed with President Trump on his decision to ban transgender service members from the military in a separate interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, he told Red Alert Politics that when it comes to sending millennial men and women into war we have to be smart.

“From my experience, I’ve learned to have an extremely high bar when it comes to the commitment of American lives and American troops into armed conflict,” Nicholson explained. “When we send troops into conflict, we should have a crystal clear mission. We should send them with overwhelming force and resources and make sure that mission is accomplished quickly and efficiently. We should have a plan to get them out of where we send them to once that mission is accomplished, and then we should have a plan to take care of our veterans and their families once they’re home.”

He continued. “That might sound like common sense […], but there are way too many politicians who, when they enter into a conflict or when they think about the concept of a conflict, have a reflexive response one way or the other. And they’re not thinking through A to Z what it really takes to go and put people’s lives in harm’s way, accomplish a mission, and bring everybody home the right way. And that’s what I’m always going to think about and that’s what I’m going to push for as a U.S. Senator.”

In addition to trying to broaden economic opportunities for millennials by pushing for cutting taxes, Nicholson plans to protect free speech on college campuses where conservatives are being silenced and censored.

“One of the things we have to do, and the Senate plays a huge role in this, is ensure that we’re appointing people to the federal bench, not just the Supreme Court […], who understand the law as it is written and are willing to implement that law as it is written,” Nicholson explained. “The First Amendment is crystal clear. We don’t need a new law. We just need to implement the First Amendment.”

He said that politicians need to be brave enough to go to these college campuses “to never cede ground.”

Listen to the full conversation below: