A political battle that some mainstream media news outlets considered a contest between former President Donald Trump and his White House wingman ended Tuesday with Trump on the winning side.
In what Newsweek called a “Trump vs. Pence Proxy War,” former Vice President Mike Pence had been backing former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefish in the GOP primary for governor. But Trump was behind businessman Tim Michels, who wound up the winner.
According to The New York Times, Michels won 47.2 percent of the vote against 42 percent for Kleefish.
In addition to the battle of the two candidates, the race was seen as a harbinger of the direction in which the Republican Party wants to go as it enters the final months of the midterm election campaigns and begins to look toward the 2024 elections.
A reminder: WI governor race not just Trump-Pence proxy fight, it’s also a Trump-Walker proxy war. https://t.co/nw9BDkMMoR
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) August 9, 2022
“Congratulations to Tim Michels on his win against a wonderful and highly-competitive opponent, Rebecca Kleefisch. I know both sides will come together and defeat one of the worst Governors in the Country, Tony Evers,” Trump wrote in a post on his Truth Social platform.
In his victory speech, Michels praised Trump.
“He knows that we need to have new leadership in Madison, and he sees a lot of similarities,” Michels, 60, said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“He wanted to drain the swamp and we found out it’s a really big swamp,” he said.
Back on my college stomping ground to cover tomorrow’s #Wisconsin primary. It’s another Trump-Pence proxy war in the race for the Republican nomination for governor. #OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/pofwjt3rsU
— Stephanie Liebergen (@NewsLiebs) August 9, 2022
Kleefish told her supporters that the GOP needs to unite and win the November election.
“I love this great state, but because of the failed leadership of Tony Evers and Joe Biden, Wisconsin currently is a mess,” Michels said in a post-election statement, according to The Washington Post.
Michels supports abolishing the Wisconsin Elections Commission and replacing it with a state elections board. He backs more police and more private school vouchers.
Pence endorsed candidate concedes –
Trump-backed Tim Michels wins the GOP nomination for governor in Wisconsin –https://t.co/2Ob294lSAO
— Blanche Victoria (@tammytabby) August 10, 2022
Cassi Fenili, the campaign manager for Evers, sought to label Michels an extreme Republican.
“After 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,” Fenili said in a statement, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“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.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.