Tim Michels, a construction contractor, has been chosen as the Republican candidate for governor of Wisconsin and will face incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers in November.
Michels, who was backed by former Pres. Donald Trump, beat out former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, as well as the State Assemblyman, Tim Ramthun.
With 75% of the vote in at 10:35 p.m. CDT, the Associated Press announced the race’s ending. Michels led by over 20,000 votes with 47 percent of the total vote. Kleefisch was second with 43 percent, followed by Ramthun who received 5.5 percent of the vote.
Michels did better in rural areas while Kleefisch did better in more suburban areas like Dane and Milwaukee counties, but Michels remained competitive throughout.
“I’m running for governor because I’m concerned about where the nation is heading and how our state is being run. Governor Evers has been an ineffective leader, and I am looking to find a solution to these problems,” Michels said.
Michels was backed by former Pres. Donald Trump and former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, as well as other high-profile Republicans. His main opponent, Kleefisch, received support from former Gov. Scott Walker, Vice Pres. Mike Pence, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
“Wisconsin needs a Governor that will Uphold the Rule of Law, Stop Inflation, Strengthen Our Borders (just two years ago, we had the most powerful borders in history and now we have the weakest!) and End the well-documented Fraud in our Elections,” Trump added. “Tim is an America First Conservative candidate who Supports the Second Amendment, Honors our Brave First Responders and Law Enforcement, and Stands Strongly against the Woke Mob that is trying to destroy our Nation.”
Michels was in the military for 12 years before quitting as a major and runs Michel’s Corporation, which he said currently employs about 8,000 people. He stated that he was pleased to have received Trump’s support.
“People are weary of politics as usual, weary of career politicians, and they want an outsider rather than a career politician,” Michels said in July. “That’s what I bring to the table.”
During the campaign, Michels promised to “turn Madison upside down,” reduce the impact of lobbying in state politics, preserve Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban, end “unmanned ballot boxes,” and terminate the Wisconsin Election Commission. He also said he would back paid family leave at a debate last month.
He has emphasized education improvement and ensuring that Critical Race Theory is not taught in Wisconsin schools as part of his campaign.
The Cook Political Report has classified the governor’s race as a “toss up,” and it is expected to be contentious in November.