MADISON, Wis. — Republican Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson has won the endorsement of the tea party conservative group FreedomWorks for America.

The group said Wednesday it was picking Nicholson over GOP rival state Sen. Leah Vukmir because Nicholson "has indicated he would oppose Mitch McConnell's failed leadership."

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon is making it a priority to remove McConnell as Republican leader of the Senate. A political action committee backed by Bannon on Monday threw its endorsement to Nicholson, a former Marine.

Nicholson this summer supported McConnell, but now is calling for new leadership after the Senate failed to repeal the health care law.

Vukmir on Tuesday declined to say whether she would support removing McConnell.

The winner of the Republican primary next year will face Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.