Assembly Republicans voted last week to bar Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, from attending closed caucus because they no longer trust her, according to a letter obtained by WisPolitics.com.

New Caucus Chair Rob Summerfield, R-Bloomer, sent the letter to Brandtjen on Friday, one day after Assembly Republicans met for leadership elections.

“The continual issues from the past have led our caucus to lose trust in you,” Summerfield wrote. “For this reason, this vote was taken.”

The letter didn’t offer any specifics. Brandtjen has been sharply critical of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on several issues, including election procedures. She also supported Vos’ primary opponent and continued to back Adam Steen as he mounted a write-in campaign for the general election. Recordings of campaign phone calls leaked to the conservative Wisconsin Right Now included Brandtjen strategizing with the Steen.

Vos easily beat back the write-in challenges from Steen and Dem Joel Jacobsen in November and demurred last week when asked if he planned to continue allowing Brandtjen to serve as chair of the Campaigns and Elections Committee. After his primary win in August, Vos suggested he may remove her from the post.

Brandtjen late yesterday issued a statement taking issue with a report from conservative radio host Jay Weber on Friday that she was asked to leave closed caucus the day before. She said in the statement that she left Thursday after three hours of voting due to a family commitment, not because she was asked to leave.

Multiple Assembly GOP sources told WisPolitics.com that the discussion about barring Brandtjen from closed caucus began after she left and resulted in the vote.

In her statement yesterday, Brandtjen defended her work as chair of the Campaigns and Elections Committee along with her support of Steen.

Brandtjen said in her statement if Vos wanted her support, “he should have earned it like any other candidate.”

“I supported Robin Vos’ opponent because I don’t feel Robin Vos can unify this party,” Brandtjen said. “Last Thursday, Robin Vos had an opportunity to prove me wrong, but instead he proved me right.”

Brandtjen didn’t immediately return a call from WisPolitics.com late yesterday seeking comment on the letter. Before WisPolitics.com obtained the letter, Brandtjen spoke briefly with a reporter to shoot down the suggestion she was considering a run for Waukesha County exec this spring.

Paul Farrow, the outgoing state GOP chair and a former state lawmaker, is seeking a third term in the job.

“Never crossed my mind,” Brandtjen said of a possible bid.

See the letter:
https://www.wispolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/221116Letter.pdf

See Brandtjen’s release:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/rep-brandtjen-responds-to-jay-weber-rumors

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