Aug 10, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump-backed Tim Michels wins Wisconsin's GOP governor's primary

Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels speaks to residents during a campaign stop on August 06, 2022 in Chilton, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels speaks to residents during a campaign stop on Aug. 6 in Chilton, Wis. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Tim Michels, who was endorsed by former President Trump in Wisconsin's gubernatorial primary, clinched the nomination on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Michels will go on to face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in what is expected to be one of the most contentious elections of the cycle — with implications for the 2024 election.

Driving the news: Michels, who co-owns the state's largest construction company, aligned himself closely with Trump throughout the campaign and spent millions on TV ads touting his endorsement from the former president, per the New York Times.

  • Trump last week campaigned for Michels in Waukesha, Wisconsin, saying that Michels is "big time."
  • Michels, who said last week that he and Trump are both "outsiders," has also cast doubt on the results of the 2020 election.

Yes, but: Michels has been vague about what specifically he would do to reform elections if he is elected and said he would accept the results of Tuesday's primary, the Washington Post reports.

  • Michels also flip-flopped on whether he would support a Trump bid in 2024, at first saying: "I’m focused on this election right now. ... I have made no commitments to any candidates in 2024."
  • And then: "The day President Trump announces that he’s going to run for president in 2024, if he does, I will support him and I will endorse him."

Zoom in: Tuesday's primary was a proxy war between Trump and other GOP leadership, with Trump endorsing Michels, while former Vice President Mike Pence and former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) backed former lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

What to watch: Evers has blocked more than a dozen voting bills passed by the state's GOP-led legislature, the New York Times reports.

  • The state's next governor would have broad authority on election reform and influence over important policy topics, including education and abortion, in a key battleground state, per the Times.

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