Trump-backed Wis. candidate won’t commit to backing him

Aug 1, 2022, 6:18 PM | Updated: 6:25 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor endorsed by Donald Trump would not commit Monday to supporting Trump should he run for president again in 2024, but also didn’t rule out trying to decertify his 2020 loss in the battleground state.

Trump-backed candidate Tim Michels, at a town hall event a week before the Aug. 9 primary, also said he did not think Trump did anything wrong on Jan. 6, 2021. Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence, said she would support whoever wins the Republican primary for president in 2024.

A third candidate who has made decertification the keystone of his candidacy, state Rep. Tim Ramthun, also did not commit to endorsing Trump in 2024 should he run for president.

The winner of next week’s primary will advance to face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in November. Whoever wins will be governor during the 2024 presidential race and in position to sign, or veto, election law changes passed by Wisconsin’s conservative-controlled Legislature.

Trump has hung heavy over the Republican primary race for governor. He endorsed Michels, who co-owns an energy and infrastructure construction company, passing over Kleefisch who served eight years as lieutenant governor under Scott Walker. She scored an endorsement from Pence last week.

Trump has scheduled a rally in a conservative Milwaukee suburb on Friday night.

Michels said he won Trump’s endorsement because he is a businessman and political outsider. But he refused to say he would support Trump in 2024.

“2024? I’m focused on this election right now,” Michels said. “I have made no commitment to any candidates in 2024. What I am focused on is beating Tony Evers.”

Kleefisch said, “I will support the Republican nominee and it looks like we have an assortment to choose from.”

Ramthun, who polls show is far behind Michels and Kleefisch, said 2024 was “going to be a whole new game” and he will support whoever wins the primary.

Ramthun has pushed for decertification of the 2020 election, which Trump lost to President Joe Biden in Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes. The outcome has withstood two partial recounts, multiple lawsuits, a nonpartisan audit and a review by a conservative law firm. A review by a former conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court justice also did not turn up evidence to overturn Biden’s win.

Michels did not rule out signing a bill to decertify Trump’s loss, even though legal experts, including conservative attorneys, have said it is unconstitutional and impossible to do. Michels said if elected governor he would look at all the evidence of what happened in the 2020 election and “everything will be on the table.”

Kleefisch, in her strongest comments to date on the issue, ruled out decertification.

“It’s not constitutionally possible,” she said. “There is no path to decertifying an election that has already happened.”

All three of the candidates said they would accept the results of next week’s primary election.

As for the Jan. 6 insurrection, Michels and Kleefisch blamed those who stormed the Capitol but not Trump for what happened after his “Stop the Steal” rally.

“Donald Trump, he had a rally,” Michels said. “”I haven’t see any evidence that Donald Trump said ‘Go to the Capitol now and storm it.’ I don’t think he would have done it. … I don’t think he did anything wrong.”

Kleefisch said, “Ultimately those people who stormed the Capitol are responsible for what they did.”

More than 840 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the riot. Over 340 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors. More than 220 have been sentenced, with nearly half of them receiving terms of imprisonment. Approximately 150 others have trial dates stretching into 2023.

A special U.S. House committee continues to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection and Trump’s role in it.

The town hall, hosted by WISN-TV in Milwaukee, was the last scheduled joint appearance by the Republican candidates before the election.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A Goodwill store sign is shown in Berkeley, Calif., Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Goodwill Industr...
Associated Press

Iconic Goodwill gets serious with online for thrifters

NEW YORK (AP) — Thrifters who flock to Goodwill stores will now be able to do some serious treasure hunting online as well. The Goodwill Industries International Inc., the 120-year-old non-profit organization that operates 3,300 stores in the U.S., and Canada, has launched an online business as part of a newly incorporated venture called GoodwillFinds. […]
4 hours ago
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk out of the White House to board Marine One in Wa...
Associated Press

Biden marks 100 days since Dobbs ruling as Dems eye midterms

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is highlighting his administration’s efforts to protect access to abortion as he marks 100 days since the Supreme Court overturned a national right to the procedure and Democrats hope the issue will galvanize their voters ahead of the midterm elections. Biden on Tuesday will attend the second meeting of […]
4 hours ago
Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, and Markus Krebber, ri...
Associated Press

German energy giant RWE to end coal use by 2030

BERLIN (AP) — German energy giant RWE said Tuesday that it will phase out the burning of coal by 2030, saving 280 million metric tons of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. The decision will accelerate the closure of some of Europe’s most polluting power plants and a vast lignite strip mine in the west of the […]
4 hours ago
A man pumps water in front of destroyed house in the recently recaptured town of Lyman, Ukraine, Mo...
Associated Press

Live Updates: Russia-Ukraine War

The city council of Kyiv says it is providing evacuation centers with potassium iodine pills in preparation for a possible nuclear strike on the capital, Ukraine’s largest city. Potassium iodine pills can help block the absorption of harmful radiation by the thyroid gland if taken just before or immediately after exposure to nuclear radiation. The […]
4 hours ago
British Prime Minister Liz Truss applauds Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng as he delivers...
Associated Press

UK’s Truss vows to listen as she reels from policy U-turns

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss has insisted she is leading “a listening government” that learns from its mistakes, as she tries to restore her shaky authority and reassure financial markets spooked by her government’s see-sawing economic pledges. Truss told the BBC in an interview broadcast Tuesday that she and her ministers […]
4 hours ago
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, watches through binoculars as Russian Defense Mini...
Associated Press

What’s Putin thinking? Tough to know for nuclear analysts

PARIS (AP) — Will President Vladimir Putin pull the nuclear trigger? For Kremlin watchers trying to figure out whether the Russian leader’s nuclear threats are just bluffs, there is no more pressing — or tough — question. For now, analysts cautiously suggest that the risk of Putin using the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal still seems […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Trump-backed Wis. candidate won’t commit to backing him