Far-right state Rep. Timothy Ramthun is likely to enter the GOP primary for governor this weekend, running on a platform of overturning Wisconsin’s 2020 election results and undoubtedly dividing the state party even further.
“A Ramthun entry into the race would scramble the Republican primary for governor,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Ramthun has been praised publicly and privately by former President Donald Trump for his push to undo the 2020 election result, a legally impossible task.”
Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson have both embraced the Big Lie and have plans to roll back voting rights, but neither has gone so far as Ramthun, who included on his now-deleted campaign site a 72-page PowerPoint presentation on his plan to revoke Wisconsin’s electoral votes — which is illegal.
Rolling Stone reported that Trump personally called Ramthun to offer his endorsement last December. Ramthun’s extreme platform has also earned him a spot on Steve Bannon’s podcast and drawn the endorsement of far-right MyPillow executive Mike Lindell, who will speak at Ramthun’s launch event this weekend.
Like Nicholson, Ramthun is already on the bad side of Assembly Speaker and Kleefisch supporter Robin Vos. Vos punished Ramthun by removing a full-time staff position from his office after Ramthun repeatedly failed to convince his colleagues to overturn election results and falsely accused Vos of working with Democrats to authorize ballot drop boxes.
“Timothy Ramthun is cranking up the extremism in the Wisconsin GOP primary, and this nasty battle for far-right support will only get nastier from here,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “Republican insiders like Robin Vos and Rebecca Kleefisch should be concerned that Ramthun will tear the party apart and steal the support of Donald Trump’s loyal base. His bonkers conspiracy theories are bad for the GOP and even worse for Wisconsin.”
Read more on Ramthun’s far-right views and impact on the primary below:
A state lawmaker who was disciplined by the Assembly leader over false election claims and who has repeatedly called on his colleagues to take the impossible action of overturning Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election results, appears to be running for governor.
A new campaign website that was taken down late Wednesday said Rep. Timothy Ramthun, a Republican from Campbellsport, is running on a platform of election scrutiny and is endorsed by Mike Lindell, the MyPillow executive who has heavily promoted baseless election conspiracy theories.
“I’m a servant of, by, and for the people who believes in truth, transparency, and integrity,” says a message attributed to Ramthun on the website. “I will call for an independent full forensic physical cyber audit for the November 2022 election, beginning with my race regardless of its outcome,” the campaign website said.
“It’s time we restore confidence in our elections process.”
A Ramthun entry into the race would scramble the Republican primary for governor. Ramthun has been praised publicly and privately by former President Donald Trump for his push to undo the 2020 election result, a legally impossible task.
Kleefisch and Nicholson have called for the Legislature to dismantle the state elections commission and enact new election rules, but have not shown support for overturning the 2020 election result like Ramthun.
Lindell, whose endorsement appears on campaign flyers available to print out from the website, confirmed in an interview with the Journal Sentinel that he endorsed Ramthun for governor and said he plans to be at an event Ramthun is holding on Saturday in Washington County.
“He’s going to win — 100%. It’s not even going to be close,” he said. “We’re going to get rid of the (voting) machines. In Wisconsin, and nationwide, we’re going county by county. And when you do that, now you’re going to have elections that people get one person one vote.”
Ramthun has long called for lawmakers to move to overturn the election results despite there being no legal mechanism to do so and has largely been ignored by legislative leaders, with Assembly Speaker Robin Vos once dismissing it as a “talking point of the far left and far right.”
On Jan. 25, Assembly leaders rejected for the second time a proposal from Ramthun to pull back Wisconsin’s electoral votes cast in the 2020 election, which is illegal.
Ramthun included on his site a link to his 72-page Power Point presentation on how he plans to revoke the state’s 10 electoral votes for President Joe Biden.
Nonpartisan attorneys for the Legislature have said pulling back the state’s electoral votes is impossible.
The potential entrance to the governor’s race comes about three weeks after Vos removed a full-time staff position from Ramthun’s legislative office over false claims Vos said Ramthun made about him and the 2020 election.
The move enraged a segment of the Wisconsin Republican base who want legislative leadership to do more to probe the 2020 election result, a distrust that blossomed after Trump made repeated false claims about “ballot dumps” and other alleged problems that he said contributed to his loss in Wisconsin instead of getting fewer votes than Biden.
Vos’ decision also spurred a handful of county Republican parties in recent weeks to pass resolutions calling for Vos to resign as speaker. At the same time, Ramthun has grown in popularity among Trump loyalists — appearing on a number of far-right podcasts including one hosted by Steve Bannon, a former White House chief strategist under Trump.
Vos has said he stripped Ramthun of his only full-time staffer after Ramthun falsely accused Vos of signing a deal with attorneys for former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to authorize ballot drop boxes.
He told reporters in January that no one agrees with Ramthun’s claim that Wisconsin can revoke the 10 electoral votes it delivered to President Joe Biden more than a year ago.
He said an election review he authorized last summer, at a cost of $676,000 to taxpayers, is aimed at changing how future elections are conducted.