National GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel says Wisconsin will be pivotal in 2022 and 2024 and downplayed the split between former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence after announcing Milwaukee will host the 2024 Republican National Convention.

“This is what happens,” McDaniel said on WISN’s “UpFront,” which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “We’re absolutely invested in Wisconsin. And, of course, we want to flip the governor’s mansion. I have a hard time saying that right now because the governor’s been really great through this process in bringing the RNC. We still want to beat him, but we are thankful of his support of coming to Milwaukee.”

Wisconsin native Reince Priebus, former chief of staff in the Trump administration and former national party chair, will lead Milwaukee’s host committee and be tasked with raising tens of millions of dollars to host the convention.

“Listen, we live in a divided world,” Priebus said when asked about the Trump-Pence split. “I don’t know who’s going to be running for president yet. I think Donald Trump’s going to run. I don’t know who else is going to run, but I think we’re going to come together as a party no matter who the nominee is.”

Priebus also defended Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, his former college roommate, who is facing a Republican primary challenger, Adam Steen, who was endorsed by Trump.

“I love Robin,” Priebus said. “He’s a good man. He’s led this state of Wisconsin well.”

Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Paul Farrow says the contested primary for governor has been a “challenge” but is vowing unity after tomorrow’s primary.

“What’s happening right now is typical in a primary situation,” Farrow said on the show. “Is it one I’d like to see? No. I’d rather see the energy put forth on the other side to show how weak the Democrats are. This is what they have to do.”

Farrow also said the primary will be a test of Trump’s influence in Wisconsin.

“You see some of the primaries across the country,” Farrow said. “Some of the candidates are winning, some are losing. I don’t know if his energy continues or what’s going to happen. That will show up on Tuesday night for sure, and we’ll see what happens as we move in 2024.”

ABC News political director Rick Klein says there’s multiple layers to Trump endorsing Steen.

“Revenge is a piece of it, and clearly Trump has done that at every level of government,” Klein told “UpFront.” “The other piece of it, though, is he is trying to remake state legislatures in his own image and he’s been told by people around him about some of the theories about how the election might have been overturned last time around if you had a friendlier state legislature.”

Klein said he would be surprised, though, if Vos lost.

“It would be a major upset,” he said. “But again, Trump may feel emboldened by his string of victories he’s had of late.”

Also on the show, U.S. Sen Tammy Baldwin says Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race is a must-win for Democrats this fall and is putting her full support behind Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes after Democrats largely cleared the field for his expected primary win.

“They came to those decisions independently,” Baldwin said after Alex Lasry, Sarah Godlewski and Tom Nelson dropped out of the race. “But I do think that showing that unity early is extremely important.”

The winner of the Democratic primary will face U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in November.

Baldwin also said she believes she’ll have the votes to codify same-sex marriage “with or without” Johnson’s support.

Baldwin is leading the effort to secure 10 Republican votes to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act passes the U.S. Senate, which would enshrine federal protections for same-sex marriage.

“If we were to take up the House-passed version, we have five who have publicly discussed their support and many other Republicans who have privately expressed their support,” Baldwin said. “I think we have a filibuster-proof margin.”

Baldwin said she is working on an amendment to address concerns from Johnson and other Republicans over concerns about religious freedom.

“We’ve seen Sen. Johnson sort of dancing through his position on this bill,” Baldwin said. “I think we will have sufficient votes with or without him, but I certainly welcome his support as we move to clarify some of the concerns that have been raised by his conference.”

Johnson had said he had no reason to oppose the move but also, in recent days, has raised concerns over religious liberties.

All three Republican candidates for governor say they’ll accept the results of the primary and back the winner.

Rebecca Kleefisch, Tim Michels and Tim Ramthun made the pledge during a town hall last week hosted by WISN-TV.

The candidates were also asked why their opponents won’t be able to beat Gov. Tony Evers in November.

“I’m the people’s choice,” Ramthun said. “Grassroots, patriot groups, freedom fighters, many of the county parties and many of their memberships.”

Michels said he is the candidate who “screams change.”

“I have people coming up to me all the time. ‘Tim, I’ve been voting Democrat my whole life,'” Michels said. “‘The union says I have to vote Democrat, but the Democratic Party has left me. I believe that you understand what the working man does.'”

Kleefisch said it’s her record going up against “the liberal mob.”

“I’ve faced off against 100,000 protesters in the middle of my own chemotherapy and I was willing to lose my job on principle,” Kleefisch said. “It’s that type of spine we need to go up against Tony Evers.”

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

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