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Wisconsin gubernatorial primary picks up another proxy war between Trump and Pence

The candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump faces off against the candidate endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence for the third time did time, Wisconsin. Vermont could be headed for a history-making moment, as four states — Wisconsin, Connecticut, Vermont and Minnesota — have primaries on Tuesday.

Here are some of the major races: 


GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Tim Michels Campaigns Across Wisconsin
CHILTON, WI - AUGUST 6: Wisconsin's Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michaels addresses residents during the campaign on August 6, 2022 in Chilton, Wisconsin.  Scott Olson / Getty Images

Wisconsin's Republican gubernatorial primary is the latest round of competition between former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence. It's a power of attorney contest. Both could run for president in 2024. In the primary, Republicans in the state are also divided over one issue: whether the 2020 victory of President Joe Biden could be "decertified."

Trump backed Tim Michaels, the owner of a construction company that financed nearly $12 million in campaign finance. Pence endorsed former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefish, along with former Republican Governor Scott Walker.

Wisconsin GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Rebecca Kleefisch Holds Campaign Event
DELLAFIELD, WI - AUGUST 7: Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefish announced on August 7, 2022 that told reporters during a campaign halt in Delafield, Wisconsin.  Scott Olson/Getty Images

Another candidate, Wisconsin Rep. Tim Ramson, trails Creefish and Michels in the polls. but Biden wins.

Although the president won the state by about 21,000 votes in his 2020, Mr. Trump and his allies have continued to criticize state legislators for more than a year and a half since Mr. Biden took office. , has repeatedly asked me to "unauthorize" or invalidate the result. They were particularly encouraged after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that absentee ballot drop-boxes were illegal.

“You know what that means? They were clearly illegal in the 2020 election. It was done," Trump said at a rally  in support of Michels in Waukesha on Friday.

At the rally, Michels repeatedly said he would dissolve the state election commission. This is also supported by Kleefish. 

"I will restore electoral integrity in Wisconsin. Out-of-state billionaire 'Zuckerbucks' has entered our state and dominated our electoral process. prevent you from doing It won't happen again," he said. 

"He shouldn't be having this conversation 21 months after the election. Was there injustice or was it fixed? I will stop doing that," he added. rice field.

Michels, endorsed by President Trump in June, said at a debate that disqualification was not a top priority. In the discussion that followed, he said, "Everything is on the table," leaving the door open.

In Wisconsin he is legally unable to decertify the 2020 results. There is no way in state or federal law to do so. Kleefisch has repeated during the debate and during the election campaign.

Still, there is one difference between her and Michels, who has cast doubt on the 2020 election results and is battling head-to-head with incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers this November. Emerson College pollsin the primary election days ago showed Kleefisch trailing her Michels by two points, but within margin of error. 

Also of note, 39% of respondents said Trump's support was a factor in their decision, while 49% said it was not. rice field. 

When asked at city hall whether they would support Trump if he runs for office in 2024, neither Creefish nor Michels pledged to do so. "I'm focused on this election right now. I'm not making any commitments to the 2024 candidates," Michels said. 

But later at a rally in Waukesha, Michels said he would support Trump's third run.

About $30 million was spent on advertising for the Republican primary, according to AdImpact data. Michels' campaign is her top spender with over $10 million, followed by Evers and Kleefisch with her over $5 million. 

Wisconsin's primary will be her third in this  primary split between Trump and Pence as candidates for governor. In Georgia, Pence backed incumbent Governor Brian Kemp in a decisive victory. And Trump's endorsement candidate Kari Lake was declared the winner last Thursday in Arizona over Pence-backed Karin Taylor-Robson. 

There are several candidates that the two agree on. Both endorse the same candidate for governor in Arkansas — Sarah Huckabee Sanders was a White House press secretary — and in New York, Rep. Lee Zeldin is running for governor.

When asked after a roundtable discussion in Wisconsin between Pence and law enforcement about who would lead the Republican Party in a duel endorsement, Creefish replied, "This is the Republican Party of the nation." I said yes.

"It will last forever. I am proud to be a Wisconsin Republican," she told reporters after the event. 

Wisconsin's 63rd legislative district's disqualification from the previous presidential election was a frequent topic of discussion.

Trump endorses Adam Steen in the election. Steen is challenging Republican Wisconsin House Speaker Robin Voss, who ordered an investigation into allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election. The investigation found that "there is absolutely no evidence of election fraud"

Trump's targeting of Voss was due to Biden's victory in the state. Just because you don't want to prove it. Steen has said he supports a bill that would allow Wisconsin elections to be decertified. 

Wisconsin is also a battleground state for the Senate, with incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson sayingTop 3 opponents all dropped out of the race in favor of him. 


Trump announced last week that he would endorse Leora Levy in Connecticut's Republican Senate primary. 

"I fully support Leola Levy tonight. She's going to go out and win this primary," Trump said. Levy and another candidate, Peter Rumage, were Trump supporters during the course of the campaign. Levy was also Trump's pick for ambassador to Chile, but she was never confirmed by the Senate. 

Her Themis Klarides, a Republican centrist and endorsed by most Republican establishments in the state, previously said she did not vote for Trump in 2020. ing. Trump Republicans held a fundraiser for her in July. In a 2016 Greenwich Time opinion piece, Levy once described Trump as "vulgar, rude, and disdainful of anyone who can't be intimidated." 

Whoever wins will have an uphill battle against popular Democratic incumbent Senator Richard Blumenthal. 


A total of four women (two Democrats, two Republicans) ran for Vermont's only congressional seat. The seat remains vacant for Democratic Rep. Peter Welch. If one of them wins her November, Vermont will be electing a female legislature for the first time. Women make up a small majority in Vermont.On the Democratic side, Lieutenant Molly Gray and her teacher and progressive activist Becca Balint are the frontrunners. The final vote of the race came from her progressive company, Data for Progress, with Balint showing her 32-point lead. 

Senator Bernie Sanders backed Balint, while Senator Patrick Leahy said she had already voted for Gray.On the Republican side, accountant Erica Reddick and Anya Tinio. Meanwhile, Welch is running to fill Leahy's Vermont seat. He is leading the Democratic primary against his two candidates, doctor Niki Thran and activist Isaac Evans Franz. 


Minnesota District 5 Rep. Ilhan Omar faces four major challengers. Former Minneapolis City Councilman Don Samuels leads the rest of the field, but Omar is doubling him down in fundraising this election cycle. Omar is the newest member of the progressive House Democratic "squad" facing primary challengers this cycle.In Missouri's First District, Rep. Cori Bush easily won over 40 points in the primary. 

Ilhan Omar and Don Samuels (Credit: CBS)

Republican Jim A special general election to fill the rest of Hegedorn's term. Hagedorn died of cancer in February 

seats tilted toward the Republican Party, but in the special election he was the Democratic candidate Jeff Ettinger. may have high voter turnout. A recent poll by SurveryUSA/ABC6 showed Republican candidate Brad Finstad up eight points from him. Trump won the constituency by 10 points. 

The last notable House special election for the seat of Nebraska First District Rep. It was a much closer margin than Republicans across the country expected. In that race, Democratic candidate Patti Panshing Brooks lost to Republican Mike Flood by just under seven points behind him. Trump won the constituency by 15 points. 

Aaron Navarro

Aaron Navarro is an Associate in the Political Unit of CBS News. Producer on House and Governor's Campaigns, Census and Redistricting.

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