Contact: Hannah Menchhoff ([email protected])

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, where Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson, Tim Ramthun, and Tim Michels are each 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 here is a roundup:

Who Said It?

Can you guess who said the following?

I will convene parents, educators, and law enforcement to develop specific prevention and security plans. This will include a Governor’s Conference on Safety every June to review developments of the past school year and prepare for the next.

Scroll to the end of this newsletter for the answer.

“Is It Worth Voting For ‘Em?”

Last week, Kevin Nicholson issued a seven debate challenge. While it doesn’t seem they will be able to manage that, conservative talk show Regular Joe [3:10] has been trying to wrangle the radical foursome, but is having trouble with Rebecca Kleefisch and Tim Michels. To put it lightly, Joe isn’t having it.

Kleefisch, he acknowledged, is “90% of the way there,” but feels like when “your computer says it’s 90% downloading and you’re waiting and waiting for that last 10%.

But the Michels campaign alternatively, “pretty much has gone dark.”

Regular Joe insists that listeners flood Michels’ inbox with requests to join the June 27 debate and closes with this:

[On campaigns] there’s a lot of moving parts, and there’s a lot of requests and everything else, but there’s also a level of how do we prioritize? What really matters? Candidates that are afraid to show up for debates should give you pause for thought. And I don’t care who they are. I don’t care how popular they are. I don’t give a damn who endorsed them. If they won’t show up and answer questions, then you need to ask: is it worth voting for ’em?

Tim Michels: “He’s done things”

It makes sense that someone running for office will talk about themselves, but often they say something useful. Tim Michels absolutely loves to talk about himself, but he also says sort of nothing at all?

It’s pretty amazing how rarely Tim Michels answers a question. When a question is a bit too hard, he pivots and only says that he’s a businessman and will “look at all the issues that are on the table.” In an interview with WISN on the topic of background checks for gun owners for example:

MATT SMITH: Do you support any expansion of background checks in the state?
TIM MICHELS: You know, as a businessman, what we do is we look at all the issues that are on the table, and I won’t be sworn into Governor ’til next January. At that time, I will bring in all the proper people, we’ll sit down, and we’ll look at all the proper issues.

Michels was similarly vague on the topic of why Trump endorsed him on Newsmax:

[Trump] said, ‘we need somebody that the people of Wisconsin are going to look at and say, this guy’s a leader, this guy’s different. He’s done things. He’s made plans, he’s executed those plans, he’s solved problems.’”

Michels could have said anything he wanted and chose that he’s “done things?” Very convincing.

Trump Endorses Winners

Rebecca Kleefisch is rightfully salty about not getting the Trump endorsement — she’s been running for years and really bent over backwards trying to  convince him she’s all in on election conspiracy theories. Of course, the rich “businessman” who had only been in the race for six weeks at that point got it. But she won’t let that get her down. On The Dan O’Donnell Show:

DAN O’DONNELL: Now you went, according to reporting by multiple sources, down to Mar-a-Lago, you met with President Trump, you sought the endorsement. Why did he give it to your opponent and not you
REBECCA KLEEFISCH: All I know is that Donald Trump likes winners, Dan. And in this race, uniquely, he will actually get to make two endorsements, because I’m going to win this primary. 

It’s a true testament to the hold Donald Trump has over Republicans in Wisconsin. Despite getting passed over for an endorsement twice (Trump’s endorsement of Sean Duffy being the first), Kleefisch is still pandering to Trump and the far right. The primary candidates won’t stop racing each other to be the most extreme in this race, Trump endorsement or not.

Maybe Kleefisch shouldn’t put so much stock on the Trump endorsement…

He did lose Alabama, Georgia, and Idaho already.

Tim Ramthun Endorsed by George Washington?

Tim Ramthun might not have earned his desired Trump endorsement, but he seems to think he has the endorsement of George Washington. Big, if true.

Tim does know that George is no longer with us, right?

In reality, our first president would likely have been horrified at Ramthun’s attempts to undermine democracy and decertify a free and fair election.

“Who Said It” Answer Revealed 

This was the release from the Tim Michels campaign about his education priorities as governor.

Tim Michels’ plan to keep kids safe in school is to make a plan, to make a plan. That’s just another way of saying, he has no plan.

Wisconsinites and Americans broadly want to see action on smart, common sense gun safety laws that will help protect their kids right now.

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