State Dem Party Chair Ben Wikler said “job one” in 2022 is to reelect Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

Wikler said he is “very confident” that Evers will seek re-election.

“He’s been a spectacular leader for our state,” Wikler said in an interview aired Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

A first-term governor, Evers has not revealed his plans for 2022. He has indicated he wants to focus on getting the next state budget into law first.

“I am very confident that the governor is going to run for re-election, and I have tremendous faith in the people of Wisconsin to agree to a second term for a governor who has demonstrated his ability to lead in a way that’s best for our kids and best for our state,” Wikler said.

Wikler is running for another term as chairman at the virtual state Democratic Party convention next month.

“We’ve got to defeat (Republican Sen.) Ron Johnson, we have to grow Democratic strength down-ballot, and we have to build the party, and the progressive movement across our state and advocate for issues that make a difference in people’s lives, get dollars into the bank and get kids into schools,” Wikler said.

“These are all pieces we have to move forward. It starts with making sure we have a Democratic governor for a second term,” he said.

Johnson, Wikler said, has tied himself to former President Trump and the violent uprising at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and “is clearly a menace to American democracy and has over and over betrayed the needs and interests of Wisconsin families.”

Still, he said Democrats should not underestimate Johnson’s strength with the base and the “extreme fringe of the Republican Party nationally.”

“We have to take this election very seriously, even though there’s no question Ron Johnson is unfit for public office,” Wikler said.

In another segment, Fond du Lac County’s public health officer said a “different culture” plays a part in COVID-19 vaccinations in Wisconsin’s rural, red counties.

Some of the state’s more rural counties have vaccination rates that trail the state average for people who are now fully vaccinated for coronavirus.

“We just have a different atmosphere, we have a different culture, we have different beliefs, just, people think differently in different communities. And I think Fond du Lac County is just one of them where it is going to take us a little bit more blood, sweat and tears to get those percentages up than it would be to other counties,” said health officer Kim Mueller.

As of Friday morning, 31 percent of the residents in Fond du Lac County were fully vaccinated against coronavirus. The state average is 36 percent, and many counties are even higher. Dane County had nearly 48 percent of its residents fully vaccinated as of late last week, according to figures on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.

“UpFront” host Joyce Garbaciak asked Mueller whether politics plays a role in people choosing whether to get vaccinated.

“Absolutely,” Mueller said.

“We do have quite a conservative community, you know, potentially that’s why you see us at 37.7 percent for just one dose, everybody having at least one dose. I also think that politics does play a role in how you look at all the communities and you see the different percentages, knowing one community is more conservative than the other,” she said. “I do think that drives the percentage up or down.”

Mueller said President Biden’s new goal of getting 70 percent of the country at least one dose of vaccine by July 4 is not realistic, but is still a worthy goal.

“We’ll get closer than what we are right now by that time,” she said.

See more from the program:
http://www.wisn.com/upfront

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