A who's who of Wisconsin Republican Party, lawmakers wrap up state convention, look toward 2016

LA CROSSE (WITI) -- The weekend-long 2015 Wisconsin Republican Convention wrapped up Sunday morning, May 17th in La Crosse with a prayer breakfast. A lot happened over the weekend that will likely help shape the state's Republican Party as lawmakers head into a critical 2016 election year.

The Wisconsin Republican Convention boiled down to two big names: Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ron Johnson.  The weekend kicked off with a canned food drive organized by Senator Johnson.

“This is just a great example of what we do in communities to help each other," Senator Johnson said.

The event came just one day after former Senator Russ Feingold announced he's running for the United States Senate seat currently held by Johnson -- making the 2016 race a rematch of the 2010 race – when Feingold lost to Johnson by five points.

The estimated 1,000 delegates on the convention floor this weekend said the Republican Party is even stronger than it was in 2010.

“When we go to national meetings, people are just envious of what we’ve been able to accomplish here in this state," Brad Courtney, Republican Party of Wisconsin chairman said.

Republicans are looking to 2016, and they're not just hoping for a Johnson re-election.  During his speech at the convention, Governor Scptt Walker dropped a few hints about a possible bid for the White House but stayed focused on successes at home. Walker has said he won't make any official announcement regarding 2016 until the state budget is signed.

“Graduation rates are up, third-grade reading scores are up, ACT scores are now second best in the county. Republicans care about education and results in the classroom," Walker said.

While the energy was high at the convention, attendance may have slipped during this non-election year.  During the Saturday morning roll-call, 12 out of the 72 counties were no shows.  Even so, the convention played like a who's who of the Wisconsin Republican Party.

“Nearly half of the new revenue that has been generated since we’ve taken over has gone back in tax relief," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said.

“We’re continuing to defend Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law. We have now won in the Wisconsin Supreme Court and in the federal courts," Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said.

It takes about 12 months to plan for the state convention.

The Wisconsin Democratic Party will hold its convention during the first weekend in June in Milwaukee.