Wisconsin GOP in-fighting has caused divisions among Republican leaders in recent weeks as Nov. 8 midterm elections loom ahead, according to the New York Times.
Rep. Timothy Ramthun, R-Campbellsport, has attracted national attention after announcing his intention to run for governor this year, according to Insider. His campaign revolves around the conspiracy theory that the presidential election in 2020 was rigged, as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Several audits and court rulings proved the election was won fairly, but Ramthun continues with his election decertification efforts. He has drummed up support from Wisconsinites, businessmen like My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell and even Donald Trump himself, according to CBS News.
Though Ramthun aims to overturn Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes for Biden, such a resolution would be ruled as illegal and unconstitutional by the Committee Chair of the Wisconsin Rules Committee, according to the Poynter Institute’s Politifact.
Ramthun’s entrance into the gubernatorial race has worsened existing divisions between Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other Republican leaders, said the Wisconsin Examiner.
Vos, who directed an up to $680,000 audit in August to investigate claims about election fraudulence, fired Ramthun’s only staff member for spreading misinformation, according to the Wisconsin Examiner.
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The misinformation in question involved claims that Vos worked with Hillary Clinton’s attorney to authorize drop boxes across the country, according to the Wisconsin Examiner.
Republican parties across Wisconsin, including Jefferson, Sheboygan, Wood, Langlade, Florence and Iowa counties, have passed resolutions condemning Vos and asked him to resign, according to CBS 58.
Gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch has sent mixed signals about her thoughts towards whether the 2020 election was fraudulent.
Kevin Nicholson, another gubernatorial candidate, has declared himself as an outsider from the Republican party in Wisconsin, according to 620WTMJ.
Even before he entered the race to become governor, Nicholson was butting heads with Kleefisch, calling her proposal last year to use ballot harvesting to gain traction in the Wisconsin primary “dumb as a bag of hammers,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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The divisiveness of Wisconsin’s GOP could end in disaster for the party, though it might seem Wisconsin Republicans would benefit from the climate, according to Politico.
What’s currently taking place among Republican leaders in Wisconsin “speaks towards the disarray of the Republican party,” Rep. Samba Baldeh, D-Madison, said. It could represent an opportunity for Democrats to have a good opening this midterm election, Baldeh added.
“People in this country are tired of politicians playing games with issues that are very, very, very crucial to their lives,” Baldeh said. “We are still in the COVID pandemic. It’s not over. It’s getting better, but it’s not over.”
Wisconsin citizens look up to their representatives, expecting them to take current issues at hand seriously, Baldeh said.
Given the current struggles communities, families and businesses are facing, the Republican fixation on past election results is absurd, Baldeh said.
This year’s in-fighting isn’t different than it was in previous years, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Scott Allen, R-Waukesha said. The entrance of newer candidates like Nicholson and Ramthun will make for an exciting gubernatorial election, Allen said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s going to get uglier before it gets better,” Allen said. “Each candidate is going to be challenged with differentiating themselves among the competition … it’s going to be a long, hot summer. It’s going to be a fun one to watch for those who are interested in politics.”
Allen knows the race will become contentious as the midterm draws nearer. But he also thinks this contention is a good thing, because it encourages robust debates and gives laypeople a better understanding of important political issues.