Trump-endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels in a Milwaukee town hall Monday said “everything will be on the table” when asked about overturning the 2020 election results after saying just a week ago it wouldn’t be a priority.
Still, Michels and his fellow GOP guv hopefuls were noncommittal when asked whether they would support Donald Trump if the former president seeks another term in 2024.
Michels, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefiscsh and former state Rep. Tim Ramthun met for a town hall sponsored by WISN-TV four days before Trump was scheduled to visit the state to rally for Michels.
Trump has said Michels must remain “strong” on overturning the 2020 election results if he hopes to win.
“Here in Wisconsin, was the election rigged? Was the election fixed? I’ve seen the movies,” he said. “I’ve seen ‘2000 Mules,’ ‘Rigged,’ all that stuff. Certainly there was fraud.”
Michels said nobody knows exactly how much voter fraud there was in the 2020 election even though various reviews have found issues with how the election was administered, but not widespread fraud.
Kleefisch and Ramthun, R-Campbellsport, alongside Michels answered questions from moderators and audience members during the town hall. Michels, who previously said he’d need to see details about any bills to overturn Wisconsin’s election results, said “I get really, really fired up about this issue.”
“When I’m sworn in in January — it’s eight months from now — I will look at all the evidence, and everything will be on the table,” he said.
The construction business exec last month told WKOW he has to get elected first and then see details about efforts to overturn the election results. In May when conservative radio show host Joe Giganti asked if the election was stolen, he said, “Maybe.”
Michels added he wants to know how much fraud former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman finds in his review of the election. A Dane County judge last week declared Gableman had found no evidence of fraud as she ordered the Assembly to pay attorneys fees for a Washington, D.C.-based group that has sought records from the review.
Kleefisch also said there were issues with the last election, adding she wants to abolish the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which she says has been acting unlawfully since the 2020 election. But she said it’s not possible to decertify the results.
“No, it’s not constitutionally possible,” she said. “And you talk to any constitutional attorney and you consult our constitution’s statute and you’ll see that there is no path to decertifying an election that has already happened.”
Ramthun, who has put forward two bills in the Assembly to decertify the election, said he wants to hold those accountable he says committed fraud in the 2020 election. When asked if he would sign a bill to overturn the results, he said yes.
“I would sign legislation the nanosecond it hit my desk,” he said.
Asked if they would accept the results of the Aug. 9 primary, all three said they would.
None of the three would say whether they would back Trump in a presidential bid in 2024, adding they haven’t committed to any one candidate yet.
Michels, who received Trump’s endorsement in June after visiting Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, said the endorsement has not changed anything about the way he is campaigning and that he has not yet decided who he’ll support.
“I’m focused on the election right now,” he said. “I have made no commitments to any candidates in 2024. What I’m focusing on is beating Tony Evers.”
Ramthun, who said he has talked with Trump but felt it was not his place to ask for an endorsement, said the Republican primary process is meant to decide who Republicans should endorse. He also said he’s not sure where public opinion on Trump will stand in the future.
“He’s gonna have to go through that process,” he said. “And to be honest with you, I’m not exactly sure where the nation is right now with regard to whether or not they would vote for him again.”
Kleefisch, who received former Vice President Mike Pence’s endorsement last month, said she would back the winner of the 2024 Republican primary.
“I will pledge to you that in Wisconsin we will deliver our 10 electoral votes for our Republican nominee,” she said.