Rebecca Kleefisch got her wish last week after saying, “I hope Donald Trump gets involved in this race,” but it didn’t turn out how she expected. Instead, Kleefisch was dealt a blow when Trump released a statement urging former Congressman, reality TV star, and Fox News contributor Sean Duffy to run in the Republican primary for governor.
“Working hard to get very popular and capable Former Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin to run for Governor. He would be fantastic!” Trump said.
An anonymous source told Wispolitics.com that Duffy is now considering a run after Trump’s statement. A Trump-endorsed bid from Duffy would hurl the WI GOP primary into chaos, with candidates forced to address Trump litmus tests in a battle for the far-right base.
Wisconsin reporters warn that Trump “dropped a grenade” into the race, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the statement “could signal hurdles for Kleefisch as she works to unify the Republican grassroots with whom Trump remains popular.”
“Donald Trump encouraging Sean Duffy to run is bad news for Rebecca Kleefisch, who won’t be able to cruise through the Republican primary without proving that her own record meets the far-right’s extreme litmus tests,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “If Duffy jumps in, Republican infighting will deeply divide the Wisconsin GOP, and whoever comes out on top will be far too extreme for Wisconsin.”