Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called his narrow win in a GOP primary a testament to his conservative record, saying former President Trump’s endorsement of opponent Adam Steen made the race closer than he expected.
The Rochester Republican also called Michael Gableman – hired by Vos to review the 2020 election only to see the former Supreme Court justice endorse his opponent — “an embarrassment to Wisconsin.”
According to unofficial results, Vos had 5,084 votes, or 51.3 percent, to 4,824, or 48.7 percent, for Steen.
The challenger, a self-employed investor who lives in Sturtevant, didn’t immediately return a message from WisPolitics.com seeking comment.
Vos told WisPolitics.com in a phone interview that he expected the race to be close because of the “level of passion” that Steen had with his followers. He said one of the few differences between them position-wise was Steen’s call to decertify the 2020 election results. Vos has said repeatedly that isn’t possible.
Trump pressured Vos to take the step in recent weeks and endorsed Steen after the speaker refused.
Vos said he and his team did all the doors in the district three times to make sure voters knew “all the good things I’d done.” But some voters were attracted to Steen over decertification.
“The Democrats spent $1.4 million against me last time, and I won,” Vos said, referring to the 2020 general election. “Republicans under President Trump and his entourage spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lying about my record, and I won again.”
Vos said the Assembly GOP leadership and the caucus will meet next week to discuss the next steps with Gableman’s review of the 2020 election.
Vos said he asked Gableman to stay in regular contact with him, to refrain from going to political events and to stay out of partisan politics. Vos said he failed on all three directives.
“Clearly Mr. Gableman has made some bad decisions, and it’s an embarrassment to the state,” Vos said.
Vos was one of nine incumbent GOP lawmakers who faced primary challenges on Tuesday.
Rep. James Edming, R-Glen Flora, had the next closest race with more than 60 percent of the vote against Michael Bub.
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg; Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine; Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay; Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva; Rep. Rob Brooks, R-Saukville; Rep. Treig Pronschinske, R-Mondovi; and Rep. Loren Oldenburg, R-Viroqua; were all above 70 percent of the vote in their primaries.