Gov. Tony Evers signaled he’ll likely veto more than a dozen GOP election bills scheduled for votes this week in the state Senate and Assembly.

“I have to see them first, but the bottom line is, as I talked about in my State of the State speech, this is a fundamental democratic issue,” Evers said on WISN’s “UpFront.” “Not Democratic Party, it’s our democracy that’s on the line. And if we make it harder for eligible people to vote, then that’s going to be a problem for me.”

Evers, who is seeking re-election in November, defended the Wisconsin Elections Commission and said the agency should continue overseeing elections in the state. Republican opponents Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson have called to eliminate the commission.

“The people that work in the Elections Commission – the Elections Commission themselves are hard working – but the actual state employees that work there are great employees,” Evers said. “They’re just getting pummeled for no apparent reason. And so I think the present system works.”

Evers also pushed back on criticism from Republicans that he’s not focused enough on crime and public safety as he prepares to seek re-election.

“The question is why Republicans have consistently not funded shared revenue for the municipalities,” Evers said. “Most of that money comes from shared revenue and most of the time Republicans have reduced or made it more difficult to have shared revenue being passed onto the municipalities.”

Evers was responding to Republican Senate President Chris Kapenga. Kapenga said in an interview it was “disgusting” the governor didn’t focus on the issue during his State of the State address, calling it a “crime pandemic in this state.”

“If there’s a crime, it’s a crime they haven’t funded it,” Evers said referring to shared revenue. “I have not avoided it. In fact, I’ve taken it head on.”

Evers recommitted to potentially supporting some GOP legislation on bail reform but said he would need to see the final details before committing.

“I just want to make sure that all sides have had an opportunity to, whether it’s the people who are concerned about criminal justice reform or those that want to toughen up bail, I just want to make sure they have that conversation,” Evers said. “And I think there are bills that are coming my way that I could support, but the proof is in the pudding.”

To the election year ahead, Evers responded to former Gov. Tommy Thompson telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he is still considering another bid for governor. Thompson would join Kleefisch, Nicholson and Rep. Tim Ramthun in the Republican primary.

“I like Tommy,” Evers said. “Worked well with him as president of the system. I think he did a good job there.”

Evers, though, said if he were Thompson, he wouldn’t run.

“It’s hard work, and I think the Republican Party may be in a little different place than it was when Tommy Thompson ran for governor last time,” Evers said.

Also on the program, Milwaukee’s two mayoral candidates, Cavalier Johnson and Bob Donovan, sparred over police funding in their first joint appearance since winning Tuesday’s primary.

“This community has been misled into believing that we’ve got 195 or 200 cops as his ad says,” Donovan, a former longtime Milwaukee alderman, said. “It’s just not true. They’re not going to be out on our streets.”

Johnson, the city’s acting mayor, disputed the accusation.

“I didn’t mislead the community in terms of the funding we put forward to make sure we can replace the officers that we so desperately need in Milwaukee,” Johnson said. “I put forward comprehensive plans on public safety. My opponent’s plan is from half-a-decade ago, and it hasn’t been updated.”

Johnson came in first in the primary with 42 percent of the vote to Donovan’s 22 percent and significantly outspent Donovan. The general election is April 5.

“I’m asking him to be transparent and tell the citizens of Milwaukee who is funding your campaign,” Donovan said. “And what are they asking in return because the reality is people don’t give that kind of money — hundreds and hundreds-of-thousands of dollars without wanting something in return.”

Johnson called Donovan’s comments “quite unfortunate.”

“I have said, my campaign has said, that every person who contributes to a campaign or supports a campaign should be listed,” Johnson said. “I want that, but I’m not the one who controls the laws at the state level. That’s something you have to have to talk to the state Legislature about. That’s not me. What I can tell you is we’ve raised a significant amount of money because people buy into my vision, my vision for growth and development and safety and security and prosperity in Milwaukee.”

Finally, state Rep. Tim Ramthun, who spoke at a recent rally at the Capitol, told WISN’s Kent Wainscott he’s still pushing his resolution to rescind the state’s electoral votes.

“I wouldn’t have put forth the resolution if I didn’t think we should,” said Ramthun, R-Cambellsport. “And I need someone to tell me we can’t, and I haven’t found anyone who’s said we can’t from a constitutional expert perspective. I’ve gotten an inside perspective from Madison’s Legislative Reference Bureau and Legislative Council, but when I go to other entities and I ask the same question and I get a different answer; that to me justifies the need for a discussion. Somebody’s right, somebody’s wrong. I’m just after closure, OK? It’s real simple.”

See more from the show:
https://www.wisn.com/upfront

See more on the Milwaukee mayoral contest:
https://www.wispolitics.com/2022-milwaukee-mayoral-race/

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