Former President Donald Trump to host rally in Waukesha in support of Tim Michels
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Former President Donald Trump will host a rally in Waukesha to support his endorsed candidate Tim Michels in the Republican primary race for governor.
Trump is scheduled to hold a rally at the Waukesha County Fairground August 5th which comes days ahead of the August 9 primary election.
Michels, a construction executive, is currently leading in the polls against his Republican primary opponents including former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and State Rep. Tim Ramthun.
The former president's visit could be a boost to Michels who is in a tight race with Kleefisch, according to polling conducted by Marquette University Law School. Last month's poll found 27% back Michels, 26% favor Kleefisch, and Ramthun sits at 3%. About a third of Republican voters, 32%, are undecided.
"Getting Donald Trump to show up in Wisconsin just days before the primary could be huge," said UW-Madison Political Science Professor David Canon about undecided voters. "Getting voters to the polls is key."
Trump's visit comes as his support has helped propel some primary candidates to victories, but not all.
Kleefisch, who had hoped for Trump's blessing, has key endorsements on her side including over 50 Republican lawmakers, former Gov. Scott Walker and most recently U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who won Wisconsin during the 2016 presidential primary.
"I think Kleefisch still has the endorsement from political party insiders and Donald Trump hasn't had the depth of support here in Wisconsin as in other states," Canon said. "Not only did Ted Cruz beat Trump in the primary, it was the last primary election Donald trump lost."
During his speech in Waukesha, Trump could again pressure Republicans to overturn the 2020 election, a move constitutional and legal experts say is impossible.
The former president recently posted on his social media page suggesting Michels could only win in Wisconsin if he stays committed to the "stolen election."
"Tim Michels will win if he remains strong on the Rigged and Stolen Election," Trump wrote on Truth Social. "Otherwise he has no chance."
During a televised Republican governor debate Sunday, Michels signaled he’s not focused on decertifying the election.
"It's not a priority,” Michels said. “My priorities are election integrity, crime reduction and education reform. Then the continuous, always from day one until my last day in office four years or eight years later, to make sure that we have a robust economy here in Wisconsin."
His comments could put him at odds with Trump who has consistently bullied Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for repeatedly saying the Legislature cannot decertify the results.
Courts, recounts and nonpartisan reviews have upheld Joe Biden's victory over Trump in Wisconsin.
Ramthun is the only candidate in the race who has embraced the efforts to decertify the election. He recently reintroduced a resolution to overturn the results which GOP leaders oppose. Ramthun claims a recent State Supreme Court ruling invalidated absentee ballots cast via drop box during the 2020 election.
The high court's ruling specifically applied to banning absentee drop boxes in future elections, not the 2020 election, disputing Ramthun's argument.