Trump-backed Republican kicked out of Wis. Assembly caucus

Nov 16, 2022, 10:38 AM | Updated: 2:38 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican chair of the Wisconsin Assembly elections committee who was backed by former President Donald Trump, embraced conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and wanted to decertify President Joe Biden’s victory, has been kicked out of the closed GOP caucus because her colleagues don’t trust her, according to a letter sent to the lawmaker.

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen’s expulsion from the caucus comes after Republicans failed to win a supermajority in the Assembly and Trump’s endorsed candidate for governor lost to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in the swing state.

The letter, first obtained by WisPolitics.com, was sent to Brandtjen on Friday, just a day after Republicans met in private to vote on their leaders for the upcoming session. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was reelected to his post. Brandtjen endorsed and campaigned for his Republican opponent, Adam Steen, who was also backed by Trump.

“The continual issues from the past have led our caucus to lose trust in you,” state Rep. Rob Summerfeld, the Assembly GOP caucus co-chair, said in the letter telling Brandtjen she would no longer be allowed to attend the caucus. “For this reason, this vote was taken.”

Brandtjen, in a statement, called the action against her “petty.”

“Removing me from caucus will not stop the ongoing voting issues that plague our state, but it does prove that many members of the caucus are willing to ignore their constituents to stay in good standing with caucus leadership and keep their committee chairmanships,” she said.

Vos declined to elaborate Thursday on why Brandtjen was kicked out.

“It was closed caucus,” Vos said. “I think the letter speaks for itself.”

Republicans discuss strategy and other issues in the closed caucus meetings that Brandtjen now will no longer attend. Committee assignments, including who will chair the elections committee, are expected to be released in the coming weeks. Brandtjen will almost certainly no longer head the committee.

Republicans will hold a 64-35 majority in the next session, just two votes short of a supermajority needed to override vetoes. But all it takes is 50 votes to pass a bill, meaning Republicans could pass legislation even without the support of 14 representatives.

Brandtjen, of Menomonee Falls, was first elected to the Assembly in 2014. Since Trump’s 2020 election loss in Wisconsin, she has been one of the most vocal proponents of election conspiracy theories, holding hearings and inviting in speakers who have pushed lies about that election.

Brandtjen also co-signed a resolution attempting to decertify Biden’s 2020 win, a move that Vos opposed and that attorneys on both sides said was unconstitutional and impossible under state law. Biden’s nearly 21,000-vote victory over Trump has withstood multiple reviews, a nonpartisan audit, dozens of lawsuits and two partial recounts.

She was one of the biggest advocates for the election investigation led by Michael Gableman, a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice hired by Vos to look into the 2020 election. Gableman’s investigation was ridiculed by Republicans and Democrats alike, and Vos fired Gableman in August calling him an “embarrassment” to himself and the state.

Brandtjen was endorsed by Trump this summer. He called her “the most courageous member of the Assembly” and praised her for investigating the 2020 election. Trump on Tuesday announced he was running for president again in 2024.

Both Trump and Brandtjen backed the Republican Steen in his challenge to Vos. Steen narrowly lost in the primary and failed to knock off Vos as a write-in candidate last week.

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

AP

FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 2, 2015 file photo, the first twin-engine 158-seater C919 passenger pla...
Associated Press

Chinese airline receives first domestic long-range jetliner

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese airline on Friday became the first customer to take delivery of a long-range jetliner produced by a state-owned manufacturer set up to try to compete with Boeing and Airbus, state TV reported. The Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China’s C919 is part of the ruling Communist Party effort’s to transform the […]
3 hours ago
Associated Press

Spain hosts EU-Med summit to discuss energy crisis

MADRID (AP) — The leaders of nine Mediterranean and Southern European countries planned to meet Friday in Spain, with the energy crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely to top the agenda. The EU-Med9 meeting in the eastern port city of Alicante brings together the leaders of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Malta, […]
3 hours ago
Medical workers in protective overalls walk past a line outside the fever clinic of a hospital in B...
Associated Press

China struggles with COVID infections after controls ease

BEIJING (AP) — A rash of COVID-19 cases in schools and businesses were reported by social media users Friday in areas across China after the ruling Communist Party loosened anti-virus rules as it tries to reverse a deepening economic slump. Official data showed a fall in new cases, but those no longer cover big parts […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Ukraine Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko walks outside of the International Monetary Fund (...
Associated Press

Helping Ukraine is ‘self-preservation,’ finance chief says

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Ukraine’s finance minister says crucial Western financial support is “not charity” but “self-preservation” in the fight to defend democracy as his country deals with growing costs to repair electrical and heating infrastructure wrecked by Russian attacks. Serhiy Marchenko also told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday from Kyiv that he […]
3 hours ago
People walk by monitors showing an exchange rate of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar at a s...
Associated Press

World shares higher ahead of U.S. inflation update

BANGKOK (AP) — Shares were higher in Europe and Asia ahead of an update Friday on U.S. wholesale prices that will provide insights into how businesses are coping with inflation. Germany’s DAX added 0.2% to 14,295.30 while the CAC 40 in Paris was nearly unchanged at 6,649.30. Britain’s FTSE 100 also was little changed, gaining […]
3 hours ago
A general view of pupils during lunch hour at Hillstone Primary School, in Birmingham, England, Wed...
Associated Press

UK cost-of-living woes stir push for more free school meals

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — As the school bell rings, dozens of children begin filing into the canteen at Hillstone Primary School. The day’s offering, a roast dinner, is a popular one, and many are eager to tuck into their plates of turkey slices, roasted potatoes, broccoli and gravy. For some children in this area of […]
3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

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

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
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.
Trump-backed Republican kicked out of Wis. Assembly caucus