State Rep. Timothy Ramthun’s entrance in the race for governor is set to shake up the GOP primary, but Republican insiders are still questioning to what extent.
Ramthun, who has attempted to overturn Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential results, held an event Saturday in Kewaskum formally launching his campaign.
“He has gone in a direction that is farther than most others have,” Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Paul Farrow said on WISN’s “UpFront.” The show is produced in cooperation with WisPolitics.com.
Added Farrow: “I think there are some challenges to what he is recommending. We’ll continue to watch what happens, but our focus is really in November.”
Farrow didn’t specifically support or denounce Ramthun’s entry, noting the party does not endorse candidates during the primary.
“There is frustration that’s out there,” Farrow said. “I think Rep. Ramthun and others have looked at that and said, ‘Is there a way that we can create a pathway?'”
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Marine veteran and former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson and businessman Jonathan Wichmann are also seeking the GOP primary nomination.
“As we look at it right now, the candidates are out there talking to everyone across the state to garner their support,” Farrow said. “The party’s responsibility is on Aug. 10. After the primary election is over, we’ll work with whoever comes through the primaries to take on Gov. Evers.”
Farrow, though, did respond to Nicholson’s recent comments while both attended a local GOP event in Manitowoc County.
“It’s all in the perpetuation of this machine,” Nicholson was recorded saying. “Because if I win, it all changes overnight. Paul Farrow’s not going to be party chair, and I’ll swear by it.”
Farrow called Nicholson’s comments referring to the party machine a “misnomer.”
“If Kevin’s talking about a machine that’s been successful since 2010 when we had an incredible wave that made changes, not only across the Legislature but all the constitutional offices, then that’s what it is,” Farrow said. “When I talk to people around the state who are Republicans, they’re a little disappointed when he says it’s a machine because it’s grassroots individuals who are out there fighting for what they think is the right thing to do.”
Also, Friday the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol reached its first deadline for documents from more than a dozen “false electors” from seven swing states, including Andrew Hitt and Kelly Ruh from Wisconsin.
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to further investigate.
“Shady legal maneuvers and forged documents really are criminal actions,” Pocan told WISN’s Adrienne Pedersen. “And we have to treat that as no different than what happened in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6.”
Pocan said he is working with some committee lawmakers and may pursue legislation in the future, but will first wait for the committee’s work and any action from the Justice Department.
“I think we already saw a signal from the Department of Justice that said they are looking at things, but they won’t give details, which is good enough,” Pocan said. “Which means they are looking at it.”
Also on the show, Wauwatosa Police Chief James MacGillis said the city’s $7,500 hiring bonus for new police officers is bringing an increased number of applicants.
“We’re very excited that the process appears to be working,” MacGillis said.
Republican lawmakers are proposing a similar statewide pitch, to would include a $5,000 signing bonus for new police officers. That money would come from federal pandemic relief funds and need the approval of Gov. Tony Evers.
“It’s lawmakers recognizing that a community and law enforcement, they’re not separate,” MacGillis said. “We’re part of the community, and we need to be working together with the community.”
Finally, the Green Bay Packers said the team has so far raised about $64 million and secured 194,000 new shareholders during the team’s stock sale that ends Feb. 25.
“It really was and is a survival story,” Jennifer Ark said, director of stadium services for the Packers.
The new money raised will be used for concourse renovations and new scoreboards.
The team had set a goal of 300,000 new shareholders, and team officials are leaving the door open for another sale down the road.
“A few years ago we had quite a few questions come in where people were interested,” Ark said. “The last one was 10 years ago, so maybe that’s a benchmark, but we’re never locked in.”
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