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Trump rallies in Wisconsin, where Republicans are under siege

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Former President Trump will hold a rally in Wisconsin later Friday to boost his endorsed candidates, a visit that comes as the Republican Party faces challenges in the battleground state.

Trump will choose his preferred gubernatorial candidate, Tim Michels (R), shortly after former Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Badger State to support former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch ( R) in another current power of attorney example. battle between the pair.

Meanwhile, Senator Ron Johnson (R), a prominent Trump ally, will be conspicuously absent. The senator said in a statement last month that he was forgoing the rally because he did not want to weigh in on a disputed primary.

The timing of the rally also comes as Johnson faces a competitive bid for Senate re-election, most likely against Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes (D).

Republicans remain optimistic those races will go ahead in November, though some acknowledge the hurdles the party faces ahead of its primary next week, especially with Trump and Pence once again on either side.

GOP strategist Bill McCoshen said there was now some nervousness about how the governor’s primary had turned negative.

There are five days left and people are worried about whether we will be able to hold the party next Wednesday, he said.

Several people who spoke to The Hill said it was the first time they had seen a former president and a former vice president endorse candidates opposed to a primary in Wisconsin.

A GOP official with ties to the state, however, seemed unconvinced that the various endorsements signaled a divide within the Republican Party.

I don’t know if I would attribute the Trump-Pence affair to a split within the party. I think the divergence in the party would be Pence and Trump on one side, and then, you know, you have, your [Rep. Adam] Kinzingers on the other side, the agent said.

GOP strategist Mark Graul said the endorsements did not raise questions about party leadership, saying the candidates focused on promoting their own personal bests.

It’s really a lot more about this for most Wisconsin people, than it’s about a, you know, are-you-with-Trump-or-are-you-with-Pence situation here , he said.

But some experts think otherwise.

I think so, especially on whether or not the 2020 election was legitimate, said Barry Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and director of the school’s center for electoral research. , when asked whether the various endorsements raised questions about the party’s leadership.

This is Trump’s workhorse. It appears to be how he selects the types of people he wants to endorse, he said. Rebecca Kleefisch didn’t initially make statements skeptical enough about the 2020 election for the likes of Trump, so he went with someone else. It ended up being Michels.

Christina Amestoy, spokeswoman for the Democratic Governors Association, said Pence’s and Trump’s endorsements represent the same Republican party, but she said the different endorsements speak to the disarray and division we see in the GOP.

Yet Trump has drawn his own line in the sand among Republicans who he says have been sympathetic to his false views that the 2020 election was stolen, and those who have become his critics or refused to stand up. engage in efforts to annul the election.

Earlier this week, Trump endorsed nominee Adam Steen to face Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) in the race for the 63rd Assembly District, calling Steen a patriotic candidate on the rise while slamming Vos as a RINO, or Republican in name only, after Vos resisted attempts to overthrow the 2020 election.

Some Republicans have suggested Trump’s endorsement of Steen was misguided.

I think what that’s saying is, you know, former President Trump, with all due respect, doesn’t understand what’s been going on in Wisconsin for the last 12 years or so , Graul said.

I mean, President Vos was integral, first to help push through the conservative reforms that were passed under Governor [Scott] Walker, you know, everything from collective bargaining reforms to mapping, you know, huge tax cuts, things of that nature.

Brandon Scholz, a retired Republican strategist, called it laughable.

Robin Vos has done more for Republicans as president and in his career in a legislature than many people. And Vos passed a lot of laws. The idea that, you know, Trump is insulting her is just laughable. I mean, it’s one of those things like it’s just a totally ignorant observation of politics in Wisconsin, he said.

Steen pushed back against Republicans’ assessment of Trump’s endorsement.

So I think they have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, he told The Hill when asked about Republican disagreements with Trump’s endorsement of him.

So my opponent, as I have said several times, is not so conservative, but he does not follow the party platform either. The party platform is very clear on life. It is very clear on the Constitution. And he just ignores what the Constitution says, and I think it’s time for conservatives to stand up and follow the Constitution and tell the left that they have to sue us if they want to break the Constitution, a he added.

Some think Vos will prevail, but Trump’s endorsement still sends a signal that the former president isn’t afraid to take on what he sees as his political opponents.

Meanwhile, Johnson himself is preparing for one of the competitive Senate races in November, which Cook Political Report considers a draw.

A June poll by Marquette Law School suggested Johnson was in a tight race against several challengers, including Barnes. The poll, conducted between June 14 and June 20, showed Barnes receiving 46% in a hypothetical game with Johnson, compared to 44% for the senators, numbers that were within the margin of error.

Ron Johnson is not a politician, and that’s something Wisconsin voters really appreciate, he’s someone who’s going to come clean with them and he’s not going to play political games. Mandela Barnes has been a career political activist, Johnson’s campaign spokesman Ben Voelkel said of the senator.

A spokesperson for the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm claimed Barnes had done little to help the hardships facing families and said Johnson had proven himself in Washington as someone who always fought for the state.

But Johnson has been embroiled in several controversies, including his name being checked by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot over his alleged involvement in a bogus election scheme.

Johnson, who has denied any wrongdoing, said in a June interview that Rep. Mike Kellys’ (R-Pa.) office was the original source for an alternate list of voters to be delivered to Pence. Kelly denied any personal involvement.

More recently, Johnson has suggested that Medicare and Social Security be approved annually, angering Democrats who believe Johnson wants those programs scrapped.

My chief of staff contacted the staff of the vice presidents and said: Do you want this? They said no and we didn’t deliver it, and that’s the end of the story, Johnson told reporters after the committee’s revelations.

A Democratic source familiar with Senate races called Johnson’s comments on Medicare and Social Security deeply out of touch and out of step with the broader state.

Trump slams reconciliation deal, touts endorsements at rally while taking swipes at Republican hatersHow battle over Democrats’ climate, tax and healthcare bill will unfold

The people of Wisconsin will face a clear choice in this election between Mandela Barnes, a product of a working family, who has stood up for the people of Wisconsin all his life, fought to help and provide all Wisconsin residents, no matter where they live, no matter what zip code. Versus Ron Johnson, who went to DC, the source said. It has changed, it is now offline.

Graul argued that voters were more concerned about the economy and inflation than the committee’s Jan. 6 survey and said Johnson’s comments speak to the fiscal challenges facing the country.

You know, some of the positions he’s taken might be troubling to Republicans, Burden said. Yet he is probably the most unifying Republican figure in the state. There’s really no one else who has such unanimous support from Republican activists.

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