Kevin Nicholson, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, is announcing today he is signing the Term Limits Amendment Pledge to support term limits for members of congress. Nicholson is also pledging that he personally will not serve more than two terms as a senator.
“We have too many politicians who go to Washington and seem to only care about hanging onto power for as long as they can. That leads to bad decision making and even worse outcomes,” Nicholson said in a statement Tuesday. “We need people in the U.S. Senate who are there to do what’s best for Wisconsin, not to protect their political careers. That’s why terms limits are so important.”
By signing the U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge, Nicholson is supporting an effort to amend the Constitution to limit members of the House of Representatives to three two-year terms and the Senate to two six-year terms. The counting of terms in office would begin after the amendment is ratified.
Currently, the President of the United States is the only elected federal official to be term-limited. The 22nd Amendment limiting the president to two terms was ratified in 1951.
Nicholson is seeking the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin. Baldwin is serving her first term as senator.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-WI5, is the longest serving member of the Wisconsin congressional delegation. Sensenbrenner was first elected in 1978. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI1, was first elected in 1998. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-WI7, was first elected in 2010. All three have been serving longer than the term limits pledge would allow.
When asked if Nicholson’s fellow Republicans Sensenbrenner, Ryan and Duffy are politicians that, “seem to only care about hanging onto power for as long as they can,” Nicholson campaign spokesman Michael Antonopoulos replied in an email, “Wisconsin is fortunate to have a number of courageous, conservative leaders in office.”
“Unfortunately, the problem in Washington is that for every Paul Ryan you have several Chuck Schumers, Nancy Pelosis, and Tammy Baldwins,” Antonopoulos said. “And no one thinks that sending more politicians to Washington will help to solve our challenges.”
Antonopoulos blamed “career politicians” for the rise in the national debt, the complexity of the tax code and “a broken healthcare system.”
“There is no doubt Wisconsin and America will be better off with term limits and more people with private sector and military experience serving in Congress,” Antonopoulos said.
The other Republicans in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation are still short of the proposed term limits. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-WI8, was just elected in 2016 while Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-WI6, was first elected to congress in 2014.
Senator Ron Johnson, R-WI, was elected to a second term in 2016. He has said this will be his last term.
On the Democratic side, Rep. Ron Kind, D-WI3, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1996. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-WI4, was first elected in 2004. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-WI2, was elected in 2012.
No currently serving member of the Wisconsin congressional delegation has signed the term limits pledge.
Nicholson’s opponent in the Republican Primary is state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Brookfield. The Republican primary is in August 2018 and the general election is in November 2018.
Note: this story was updated to include a statement from the Nicholson campaign about Sensenbrenner, Ryan and Duffy.