Kevin Nicholson has a confession to make, if only someone would listen. Standing on a makeshift stage inside a burgundy-colored barn rented by the Republican Party of Outagamie County—two hours north of Milwaukee, just west of Green Bay—the U.S. Senate candidate and unlikely new object of conservative fascination has broken into a biographical speech. But many attendees don’t seem to care. He isn’t unique in receiving this treatment; the audience, buzzing off plates of barbecue and $2 cans of Miller Lite, was just as irreverent toward their own congressman, Mike Gallagher, as well as Leah Vukmir, a state senator and Nicholson’s rival in the Republican primary. With the barn’s metal gates flung upward to welcome August’s evening breath, and clusters of party loyalists chattering in buffet lines and around red-plastic-draped picnic tables, the acoustics are dreadful for a rookie politician hoping to be heard.