Unofficial partisan primary results show Republicans in Wisconsin influenced by fmr. Pres. Trump’s opinions

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT
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(WSAW) - The November ballots are essentially set after unofficial results from Tuesday’s partisan primary are tabulated. One race, in particular, gives an indication of the Republican party’s values in Wisconsin.

Polls ahead of the primary showed the race for the Republican spot on the ticket for governor was going to be close, but Tim Michels ended up winning by a larger margin than expected, Dr. Paul Nolette, Marquette University’s political science department chair said.

He commented that not that long ago it looked like Rebecca Kleefisch had secured the spot with several endorsements from prominent Republicans like fmr. Gov. Scott Walker and fmr. Vice Pres. Mike Pence. While in some counties it was close or she won over, Nolette said fmr. Pres. Donald Trump’s endorsement seems to have made a difference in the Badger State.

“It shows that the Republican party is Trump’s party at this point. He really is the dominant party in this state (as figures) like Scott Walker have a lot less pull, with Trump being such an important figure still within the Republican party.”

Looking at other Republican primaries around the state, those with more “Trumpian” style campaigns often fared better than those with more-traditional Republican endorsements. Nolette noted that is an interesting turn given that in 2016, Wisconsin Republicans, especially in the suburbs around Milwaukee, were skeptical of Trump.

As attention turns to the general election, he believes it will be trickier for the Trump-endorsed candidates to pivot and connect with more moderate and independent voters. However, he does not see the party as divided as candidates like Michels looks like a traditional Republican candidate, just with Trump’s backing.

As in many past elections, Wisconsin has come into the national spotlight with attention on the governor’s race. However, there is a special focus on the U.S. Senate race which has now been whittled down to Republican incumbent Ron Johnson and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, as it could impact the tide in Congress.

“I would expect some big names to come into the state,” Nolette forecasted. “I think Donald Trump will visit again as he already has and I would also expect a lot of money to come into the state. So, expect a lot of political advertisements over the next 13 weeks in the lead up to November.”

As that money pours in, Nolette said voters should take into consideration who is financing which campaigns when deciding who they are voting for in any race. He said if that money is coming from outside the state or jurisdiction instead of Wisconsinites, that can give a clue as to how they will operate in office and what issues they may pursue.

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