Tim Michels defeated Adam Fischer, Rebecca Kleefisch, and Timothy Ramthun in Wisconsin’s Republican gubernatorial primary on August 9, 2022. Based on unofficial results, Michels received 47.1% of the vote and Kleefisch received 42.5%. Kleefisch and Michels received the most media attention and endorsements. Governor Tony Evers (D) is running for re-election.
Michels co-owned a construction company and served in the United States Army for 12 years. Michels 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.”
Kleefisch was lieutenant governor under Gov. Scott Walker (R) from 2011 to 2019. Before that, she was a journalist in the Milwaukee area and started a marketing company. Kleefisch ran on her experience in office during the Walker administration and said she would reimplement several policies discontinued under Gov. Evers. Walker, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.), 58 members of the state legislature, former Vice President Mike Pence (R), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (R), and former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) endorsed Kleefisch.
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. State Sen. Roger Roth won the lieutenant gubernatorial primary.
Heading into the general election, Wisconsin has a divided government. Gov. Evers is a Democrat, and Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature.