MADISON, Wis. – In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rebecca Kleefisch dodged questions about whether she would have certified Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election results if she had been governor. For anyone keeping count, that’s the second time this week Kleefisch has embraced election conspiracy theories and threatened to undermine our democracy.
Kleefisch previously said Biden won the election, but has since walked back her statement now that she’s facing an uphill battle to win the primary.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin released a video highlighting her election flip-flop.
It’s no coincidence this is happening now, with Kleefisch facing multiple primary challengers and attacks from within her own party. Tim Ramthun joined the race this month; his campaign platform is centered around overturning the 2020 election and emulating Donald Trump.
Kleefisch is trying to prove she’s the most extreme candidate in the Wisconsin GOP primary, beat out other candidates for the coveted Trump endorsement, and somehow make a dumpster fire primary even more divisive.
Read more about Kleefisch’s reversal on the election below:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Rebecca Kleefisch won’t say whether she would let Wisconsin’s presidential results count
As she makes her bid for governor on pledges of election integrity, Republican Rebecca Kleefisch won’t offer promises that Wisconsin’s presidential votes will count.
The former lieutenant governor declined in an interview to say whether she would have certified Wisconsin’s results if she had been governor during the 2020 presidential election. She also would not say whether she believed the vice president has the power to prevent the counting of some electoral votes, as former President Donald Trump has maintained.
Kleefisch would not say what she would have done if she had been in Evers’ position immediately after the 2020 election.
“I think that hypotheticals are really tough to discuss in the context that you’re asking because I think there’s a lot that we just have discovered over the last several months,” Kleefisch said in an interview.
Her unwillingness to say what she would do marks a shift. In September 2021, she acknowledged on WISN-TV that Biden had won the election. Last week, she declined to directly answer that question during an appearance on WTMJ-AM.
Trump pressed Pence in the weeks after the election to refuse to count the electoral votes of swing states like Wisconsin. Pence declined to do that after telling Trump the U.S. Constitution didn’t give him that power. Pence’s view was backed by legal scholars, including conservatives such as former Judge Michael Luttig.
Pence performed his duties on Jan. 6, 2021, as a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Some in the crowd chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.”
Kleefisch wouldn’t say whether she thought Trump or Pence was right.
“I wasn’t in the conversation between Trump or Pence and I don’t think anyone in this Wisconsin gubernatorial election can say that they know what happened between those two men,” she said.
She did not address whether she would have concerns if a vice president in the future refused to count Wisconsin’s electoral votes.
“OK, that’s an inventive hypothetical,” she said, even though that is what Trump urged Pence to do.
No opposition to fake electors meeting
The Electoral College met in December 2020. Republicans in Wisconsin and other swing states Trump lost gathered on the same day and signed paperwork purporting to be the true presidential electors. They sent the material to Congress and the National Archives.
The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into the matter and the Wisconsin Elections Commission is weighing a complaint that alleges the Republicans engaged in fraud.
Kleefisch said she “wasn’t a participant in this at all whatsoever” and offered no criticism of the effort.
One of the fake electors, Darryl Carlson, at the time ran a nonprofit group led by Nicholson and now serves as his campaign manager. Another, Bill Feehan, serves on an advisory panel for Kleefisch’s campaign.
“I know Bill and I’ve known Bill for years. And he is a bright, hardworking activist and has been a member of the grassroots in LaCrosse County for as long as I have known him,” Kleefisch said of Feehan, who serves as the chairman of the LaCrosse County Republican Party.
Abolishing Elections Commission
Both Kleefisch and Nicholson have called for overhauling voting laws and dissolving the state Elections Commission. Nicholson wants to give the commission’s duties to the secretary of state. Kleefisch said she wants to hand them over to either the secretary of state or the Legislature.
Kleefisch said she is still listening to voters and would decide later whether she wanted to give the duties to the secretary of state or lawmakers. Republicans hold large majorities in the Legislature.
“I’m not looking at this from a political view at all,” she said. “I’m looking at this from an election integrity view and accountability view.”