Adam Fischer, Rebecca Kleefisch, Tim Michels, and Timothy Ramthun are running in the Republican primary for governor of Wisconsin on August 9, 2022. Kleefisch and Michels have received the most media attention and endorsements.
Kleefisch served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Scott Walker (R) from 2011 and 2019. Before that, she worked as a journalist in the Milwaukee area and started a marketing company. Kleefisch has focused her campaign on her experience in office during the Walker administration and said that she would reimplement several policies discontinued under Gov. Tony Evers (D). Walker, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wisc.), 58 members of the state legislature, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) endorsed Kleefisch.
Michels co-owns a construction company and served in the United States Army for 12 years. Michels has campaigned as a political outsider and said he would “drain the Madison swamp.” Former President Donald Trump (R) and former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) endorsed Michels. In his statement of support, Trump said, “Wisconsin needs a Governor who will Stop Inflation, Uphold the Rule of Law, strengthen our Borders and End the well-documented Fraud in our Elections. Tim Michels is the best candidate to deliver meaningful solutions to these problems, and he will produce jobs like no one else can even imagine.”
Former candidate Kevin Nicholson suspended his campaign on July 5, 2022, and said he would not endorse another candidate. Although he is no longer actively campaigning, his name will still appear on the primary ballot. Before suspending his campaign, Nicholson polled at about 10 percent support. In a statement, Nicholson said, “It has become clear to me and my team the only path forward for our campaign is attacking the other candidates in the race on the airwaves and running a very negative campaign. While our team has the capability to do that, that is not something I want to do — nor do I believe that it would be good for the party to do so.”
In Wisconsin, gubernatorial candidates do not select their own running mates. The winner of the lieutenant gubernatorial primary is placed on the general election ballot alongside the winner of the gubernatorial primary. Eight candidates are running in the lieutenant gubernatorial primary.
Heading into the election, Wisconsin has a divided government. Gov. Evers is a Democrat, and Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature.