Wisconsin GOP Party Chair Andrew Hitt said his party possibly “needed to do a better job” of turning out voters in the spring election who are only motivated by President Trump. 

Hitt commented on Justice Daniel Kelly’s loss during yesterday’s WisPolitics.com-Milwaukee Press Club Newmaker virtual luncheon. It featured Hitt and Wisconsin Dem Party Chair Ben Wikler being questioned by a panel of journalists.

The two analyzed the April 7 results in which liberal Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky unseated Kelly, the incumbent conservative justice on the state Supreme Court. 

Wikler called the results “a direct rejection of Trump personally,” pointing out how the president tweeted and talked about getting out the vote for Kelly multiple times, including during a White House coronavirus press briefing. 

He also touted a “surge of Democratic voters” in the traditionally Republican counties of Brown, Outagamie, Winnebago, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington. 

“The BOW-WOW counties were the Republican dog that didn’t bark,” Wikler said. “I think that’s a bright red alert for Trump in Wisconsin for November to see that he underperformed a Supreme Court candidate in our state who himself lost by 10 points.” 

Hitt dismissed the allegations April 7 was any kind of referendum on the president, saying Republicans always faced “an uphill battle” due to the Dem presidential primary between former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders at the top of the ballot. 

“I suspect that we needed to do a better job of activating those solely Trump-motivated voters,” Hitt said. “The people who voted for the president in 2016 but sat out in 2018, we got them back in 2019 and I think we lost them again in the spring of 2020.”

Watch the event here.

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