MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Wisconsin on Monday called his parents' decision to support his Democratic opponent "an intentional personal blow" and a "true representation" of political intolerance.
Kevin Nicholson's comments in an op-ed piece published online by Fox News are among the most forceful yet in a string of criticisms he has made about his parent's decision to each give the maximum $2,700 allowed to Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in December.
The column comes after a new attack ad from a group supporting his Republican opponent questioned whether Nicholson, a former Democrat, could be trusted. The ad used footage of Nicholson speaking in support of abortion rights at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
Nicholson's primary challenger, Republican state Sen. Leah Vukmir, argues she's the only true conservative in the race. The primary is a month away on Aug. 14.
Nicholson, in the column, described his conversion to the Republican Party as coming through his experiences of getting married, having children, fighting as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan and Iraq, working as a businessman and "my acceptance of Jesus Christ as my savior."
But he says that conversion came at a cost.
"My parents have since turned their back on me, my wife, their grandchildren, and their extended family," Nicholson wrote. "Adding to this, they decided to make the maximum contribution to my Democrat opponent in my campaign for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin, an intentional personal blow that made headlines across the country. It was deliberate - and it is a true representation of the intolerance of a political philosophy that stands on the false platform of tolerance."
His parents, Michael and Donna Nicholson of Mequon, have a long history of financial support for Democratic candidates in Wisconsin. They did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment Monday.
Nicholson's brother, Scott Nicholson, also gave the maximum amount allowed, $2,700, to Baldwin last year.
In other Senate race news:
— Club For Growth Action Wisconsin reported that GOP mega-donor Richard Uihlein donated $2 million to the group in June, bringing the total he's given to the group to $2.5 million. Uihlein-backed groups have spent more than $7.5 million on television and radio ads that either support Nicholson or oppose Vukmir.
Club for Growth Action Wisconsin last week reported to the Federal Election Commission that it is spending $2 million on a new television ad attacking Vukmir as "just a typical politician."
— Vukmir faced a Monday deadline to report her fundraising totals for the second quarter of the year. Baldwin has said she raised nearly $4.4 million between April and June, while Nicholson said he brought in about $1 million.
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