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Republicans give Walker early endorsement for governor's post

Wisconsin Republicans went home from their state convention in La Crosse Sunday with an unofficial early endorsement of Scott Walker for governor.

Of the 423 delegates answering a straw poll from, 93 percent gave Walker the nod over former Racine congressman Mark Neumann.

Walker is the only declared GOP candidate at the moment for the 2010 governor's race.

Neumann has expressed an interest in running, and Appleton businessman Mark Todd has registered. But Todd is an unknown.

University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor Charles Franklin says Walker and Neumann will need to use social issues to differentiate themselves from one another.

Both have railed Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle over the economy and his tax increase proposals.

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse professor Joe Heim says both Walker and Neumann must guard against being too conservative, saying it could hurt their chances against Doyle.

But at the convention's banquet Saturday night, both disagreed with a call to expand the party's traditional conservative base.

Walker said there was nothing wrong with the GOP's message last time out, but they didn't have the messengers.

Doyle has not announced a bid for a third term but he's expected to run.

Meanwhile, Superior Mayor Dave Ross won the straw poll as the GOP's early favorite for lieutenant governor.

Ross got 147 delegates to 109 for State Sen. Glenn Grothman of West Bend.