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GOP delegates vote not to endorse governor front runner

Rebecca Kleefisch received the most votes from delegates but failed to meet the 60% threshold that is required for the endorsement
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 9:51 PM CDT
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MIDDLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - At least in the race for Wisconsin’s governor, there’s no clear winner.

Rebecca Kleefisch received the most votes from delegates but failed to meet the 60% threshold that is required for the endorsement, even after former governor Scott Walker spoke on her behalf.

Thousands of people representing every county in the state watched as a handful of GOP candidates for governor made their pitch.

“If you want someone who has taken on these lockdowns, who has taken on the vaccine mandate, who has taken on these vaccine mandates and mask mandates... I have done it,” Rebecca Kleefisch said.

While Kleefisch is a favorite to win among party insiders, others like Tim Michels and Kevin Nicholson challenge the process, saying an endorsement provides an unfair advantage ahead of the August primary.

“I want your support but I need it in August and November when it really counts,” Michels told crowds.

Rebecca Kleefisch received the most votes from delegates but failed to meet the 60% threshold that is required for the endorsement

After two rounds of voting, the convention floor erupted with a mix of applause and boos upon hearing results.

“There is no doubt that Rebecca Kleefisch wanted this incredibly badly. She lost it. And at the end of the day the people of Wisconsin won as a result,” Nicholson said.

“I am declaring a victory. When you take a look at the numbers in there, I won the majority and in the second ballot 54%. I am proud to have the support of the grassroots of the Republican party of Wisconsin,” Kleefisch commented.

Prior to the vote, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also attracted some attention when he said the results of the 2020 vote could not be decertified.

“I am going to say something, I’m sorry, many of you might not want to hear. But we have no ability to decertify the election and go back and nullify it. We do not. We need to focus on going forward. We need to focus on making sure we have an election in 2022 and 2024 we can win,” Vos said.

The Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party responded with the following:

“He himself appointed Michael Gableman, the conspiracy theorist at last year’s republican convention. Which is running this giant waste of tax payer dollars. Shame investigation, fueling far right conspiracy theories. They just seem to be fanning the flames of the republican dumpster fire,” Ben Wikler said.

Democrats watched the events unfold. Representative Diane Hesselbein commented on the race for governor.

“Every single republican running for governor has embraced conspiracy theories about our elections, vowed to sign voter suppression laws, and they support policies that would drastically raise property taxes.”

The lack of an endorsement means it’s entirely up to voters in August to decide the outcome without being swayed by delegates at the convention.

Democrats hold their convention in June but do not endorse as part of the process.

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