MADISON, Wis. — Over the weekend, GOP candidates for governor and attorney general spoke in front of a flag from the Three Percenters, a hate group that advocates for overthrowing democracy and has been associated with the Capitol insurrection and the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson, and Adam Jarchow all refused to comment — their silence and failure to condemn the hate group speaking volumes. Kleefisch has a history with the Three Percenters — her husband, Joel Kleefisch, attended a meeting with the Three Percenters while he was a state legislator, and posed for a photo with the group. Rebecca Kleefisch, who was lieutenant governor at the time, never commented on her husband’s involvement with the group.
This kind of inflammatory and divisive politics is a hallmark of Rebecca Kleefisch’s campaign. She’s called for building an “army” of “paid fighters” and “mercenaries,” as well as asking supporters if they were “ready to throw some hands” and had their “knives out.”
Read more about the high-profile Republicans who stood in front of the hate-group flag below.
A number of Wisconsin Republicans running for office this year spoke in front of the flag of an anti-government ideology that advocates for the violent overthrow of American democracy at a meeting of the Winnebago County Republican Party this weekend.
Gubernatorial candidates Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson, attorney general candidates Adam Jarchow and Eric Toney, lieutenant governor candidate and state Sen. Patrick Testin and U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman all spoke at the meeting on Saturday in front of the flag of the Three Percenters.
Photos of the event posted to the party’s Facebook page have since been deleted.
Toney, the current Fond du Lac County District Attorney, said he didn’t see the flag when he was speaking but has since asked that it be taken down.
“As a lifetime NRA member I”m committed to defending our Second Amendment rights but I do not support the Three Percenters,” Toney said. “The flag has no business being in a Republican party HQ and I’ve asked that it be replaced. I didn’t see it when I was at the event as I was focused on the attendees not the decor.”
The Three Percenters are an anti-government ideology and subsection of the militia movement that had adherents involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A few of the ideology’s followers were involved in a 2020 kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
The Three Percenters is not an official group but its logo and related beliefs have become common in extremist right-wing circles.
In photos from the event, the Three Percenters flag is hanging on the wall behind the dais alongside two Trump 2024 flags and the pro-police Blue Lives Matter flag. The actual American flag and Wisconsin state flag are set aside in the corner near a cardboard cutout of former President Donald Trump.
This is not the first time the Winnebago County Republican Party has been criticized for expressing extremist views. Last summer, the organization shared a Facebook post that shows a photo of a white man along with the message, “Know the warning signs of WHITE SUPREMACY: 1. Full time employment 2. Literacy 3. Professional or technical degree 4. Regular church/temple attendance 5. Auto insurance 6. Good credit rating 7. No criminal record.”
Kleefisch, Nicholson, Jarchow, Testin, Grothman and the Winnebago County Republican Party did not return requests for comment.