Updated Monday, 4/30, 2:19 p.m. – Kip Smith, a Rhinelander physical therapist who entered the U.S. Senate race as a longshot Republican on a platform dedicated to cutting spending and repealing the Affordable Care Act, is dropping out.
Smith will formally announce his exit from the race on Tuesday in front of the Oneida County Courthouse at 10 a.m. in Rhinelander.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Smith said “This past weekend, after much prayer and discernment, I have decided to end my quest to be Wisconsin’s representative to the United States Senate. I never saw the office of US Senator as a career goal for myself, but as a position of duty and service to my country.
“My decision is based mostly on the difficulty in raising the funds necessary to continue this mission,” Smith continued. “We have brought forth an amazing campaign on a true ‘shoestring’ budget. I cannot, however, continue this campaign and risk the financial future of my family.
“I vow to continue fighting for our country in any capacity I can,” concluded Smith. “I only hope that our next legislators will see the importance of abolishing the current federal regulations prohibiting non-profit organizations from participating in elections. The abolition of these federal regulations would level the playing field for all candidates and allow candidates like myself the opportunity to spread our message through many of the charitable, faith-based, and community organizations around the state, with very little money.”
Smith has been considered a longshot candidate since first entering a race that features many candidates well known in either the state’s political or business community. Remaining Republican candidates include former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, former U.S. Congressman Mark Neumann, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and entrepreneur Eric Hovde. U.S. representative Tammy Baldwin is the lone democratic candidate to date.