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By his own assessment, Republican Jeff Fitzgerald "breathed a little new life" into his U.S. Senate campaign with a strong showing at the May 12, 2012, state GOP convention.
Fitzgerald edged Mark Neumann in a head-to-head race on the final ballot, giving him some badly needed momentum. But the party ultimately did not endorse, because no one received the required 60 percent of the vote.
So did he win the day?
Soon after the vote, Fitzgerald posted on Facebook:
"Thank you everyone for the tremendous support at the Republican Party of Wisconsin Convention and to have won the majority support! Thank you!"
In the days after the convention, he claimed "a win" on Twitter and on his Facebook page, citing a Wisconsin Radio Network Web story headlined, "Fitzgerald climbs to first-place convention finish."
"ICYMI: Here's an article covering my win at the Republican Party of Wisconsin's State Convention. The same grassroots activists who support Governor Scott Walker supported me because they want to see bold reforms in Washington!"
Fitzgerald, the Assembly Speaker, did not use any form of the word "endorse" -- a prudent move since none of the four GOP candidates (Fitzgerald, businessman and former congressman Mark Neumann, former Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde) won the state party’s official support.
That set his reaction apart from that of Neumann, who declared "victory" despite finishing second in the final vote, while strongly implying he was endorsed. (We rated that claim False.)
Still, even the article cited by Fitzgerald doesn’t go quite as far as calling Fitzgerald’s showing as a "win."
Here’s our take on Fitzgerald’s claim.
A first-place showing in the final showdown -- and majority support -- do represent a "win" for Fitzgerald. Or, as he tweeted, "success."
But the claim needs some clarification in that it was not a formal endorsement -- the prize everyone was seeking.
We rate it Mostly True.
(You can comment on this item on the Journal Sentinel's website)
Phone interview with Jeff Fitzgerald, U.S. Senate candidate, May 14, 2012
Fitzgerald Facebook page, accessed May 14, 2012
Wisconsin Radio Network, "Fitzgerald climbs to first-place finish," May 13, 2012
Phone interview with Chip Englander, Neumann campaign spokesperson, May 14, 2012
Neumann website appeal, accessed May 14, 2012
Neumann email appeal, May 14, 2012
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Senate hopefuls fail to win endorsement," May 12, 2012
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