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Special Election In Wisconsin Pitting Trump, Pence-Backed Candidates Goes Way of Former President

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


It was a showdown between former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, kind of, and it was won by the former president.

If these are the proxy battles that the media claim they are then Trump is doing spectacularly well against Pence, as both have hinted at 2024 campaigns for president.

On Tuesday, the Trump backed Tim Michels defeated the Pence backed Rebecca Kleefisch in the Wisconsin primary for Republican candidate for governor, Madison.com reported.

“Thanks to you, we took on the Madison Establishment and won,” Michels said. “Tonight we celebrate, but then, first thing tomorrow, let’s get to work.”

“I could not be more grateful,” Kleefisch said to her supporters as she conceded. “You left it all on the field.”

“Congratulations to Tim Michels on his win against a wonderful and highly-competitive opponent, Rebecca Kleefisch,” the former president said on his Truth Social account. “I know both sides will come together and defeat one of the worst Governors in the Country, Tony Evers.”

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Michels is slated to face Evers, who is seeking a second term this fall, in a high-stakes midterm for both major parties that could play an increased role in the battleground state’s 2024 presidential election. Independent Joan Beglinger is also running in the Nov. 8 election.

Michels will be paired on the ticket with state Sen. Roger Roth, who came out on top of a packed field of GOP candidates for lieutenant governor. Evers, meanwhile, will be paired with state Rep. Sara Rodriguez, who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday.

Cassi Fenili, Evers’ campaign manager, described the contest between the two Republicans as a “scorched earth primary that’s seen constant attacks and a dizzying race to the radical right.”

“The Republican Party has chosen the most extreme and divisive nominee possible, one that will tell Donald Trump anything just to keep his endorsement,” he said. “From abortion and voting rights, to gun safety and public education — Tim Michels has staked out the most extreme positions possible, with the goal of dividing our state and pitting neighbors against one another.”

Newsweek noted regarding the Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial race:

The Wisconsin race was the third time Pence and Trump had backed opposing candidates in the GOP primaries. The results were seen as a signifier as to which direction the GOP, and its voters, are heading as both men are reported to be gearing up for a run for president in 2024.

The Wisconsin race was just the latest high-profile Trump-Pence contest. In Georgia’s primary, Pence backed incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump has repeatedly criticized following the 2020 election, while the former president backed former U.S. Sen. David Perdue. Kemp won that race handily.

Meanwhile, Trump-backed Kari Lake, a former newscaster, won her primary race against Pence-backed Karrin Taylor Robson, though that race was tighter than many expected and took days to call. The seat is open given current Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is unable to run for re-election due to term limits.

Lake’s campaign website noted that she has been endorsed by a slew of top Republicans, including Trump.

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“She is STRONG on CRIME, Will PROTECT our BORDER, 2ND AMENDMENT, MILITARY, VETS, and will FIGHT to RESTORE ELECTION INTEGRITY.” — PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP

“Her opponents won’t even show up to debate her and she is the Trump MAGA candidate in Arizona.” — PETER NAVARRO

“Kari Lake is a STRONG WOMAN and will truly be a GOVERNOR for the PEOPLE of ARIZONA. She Doesn’t owe any favors to the political class or any special interests.” — GENERAL MICHAEL FLYNN

“Please ELECT this WOMAN if you still Believe in FREEDOM and LIBERTY in ARIZONA.” — DONALD TRUMP JR

“She is a CONSERVATIVE, freedom fighter, wants to make sure we SECURE the southern border, and to carryout President Trump’s America First Agenda…” — SENATOR MARSHA BLACKBURN

“After thoroughly reviewing Kari Lake’s newly released strategy, I fully endorse her BOLD plan to finish President Trump’s wall and SECURE Arizona’s border…” — BRANDON JUDD

“I am proud to endorse Kari Lake to be our next Governor. Arizona is at a crossroads and the state needs a governor who will work with the people, and for the people, and not just special interests.” — U.S. CONGRESSMAN PAUL GOSAR

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