A Weekly Roundup of the Hot Mess That Is the Republican Primary for Governor


MADISON, Wis. — Welcome to “Knives Out”— Rebecca Kleefisch’s favorite phrase and a weekly roundup of the infighting between the radical Republicans running for Wisconsin governor.


The GOP is locked in a heated and brutal primary for governor (or as Kleefisch calls the race, a “knife fight in a phone booth”), where Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson are trying to prove they are the most divisive candidate in the race. What’s going on in the Republican Party is so outrageous, it’s hard to keep track of all of their blunders — so we’ve got you covered:

A Hate Flag as a Campaign Backdrop


Kleefisch, Nicholson, and candidates for 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, lieutenant governor at the time, (shockingly) never commented on this.


“One Throat to Choke”


Rebecca Kleefisch called for abolishing the Wisconsin Elections Commission so voters could have “one throat to choke.” Election officials spoke out against her divisive rhetoric, saying violent words directed at nonpartisan election administrators puts their safety at risk.


Violent rhetoric is not new for Kleefisch – she has previously 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.”


Campaign Platform: Shut Down Schools


The Wisconsin GOP has begun a tirade against their newest enemy… children who want to learn? This week, both Kleefisch and Nicholson doubled down on their intent to shut down neighborhood public schools and divert taxpayer dollars to unaccountable private schools.


Kleefisch declared that people haven’t had the “backbone” to get things done over the years – but Kleefisch herself is one of those people. The Walker-Kleefisch administration rejected Tony Evers’ proposal to overhaul school funding and improve academic performance four times over eight years.


Subpoenas for Campaign Advisors


The select House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol subpoenaed former Wisconsin GOP chairman Andrew Hitt, a major supporter of Rebecca Kleefisch and Adam Jarchow, and Kelly Ruh, who has been a top advisor to Kleefisch, for submitting a false slate of Electoral College voters in the 2020 election.


Hitt has donated thousands to Kleefisch’s campaign for governor and Ruh served as a key advisor of Kleefisch as a member of the leadership board of the 1848 Project.


Snubbing Wisconsin’s Groundhogs


On Groundhog Day, Rebecca Kleefisch proved once again how out of touch she is with Wisconsin by siding with out-of-state Punxsutawney Phil over Wisconsin’s own Sun Prairie Jimmy and Milwaukee Gordy.

The Kleefisch family seems to have it out for Wisconsin groundhogs. When the Walker-Kleefisch administration signed a bill declaring open-hunting season on groundhogs, Rebecca’s husband, Joel Kleefisch, declared during a legislative debate that groundhogs like Sun Prairie Jimmy were “delicious.”

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