Gov. Evers takes shots at GOP opponent, ties Michels to Trump during statewide tour

NOW: Gov. Evers takes shots at GOP opponent, ties Michels to Trump during statewide tour

MADISON Wis. (CBS 58) -- A day after the primary election, Governor Tony Evers launched a statewide re-election tour targeting his Republican opponent and tying him to former President Donald Trump.

Trump's endorsed candidate, construction executive Tim Michels, defeated his primary opponents Tuesday, Aug. 9, to square off against Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers this fall.

Evers said Michels' connection to Trump now means he "owns" that reputation and wouldn't be unable to connect with moderate Republicans.

"His relationship with Trump is going to drive his campaign," Evers said during a campaign stop in Madison. "That's his problem, not mine."

Evers was joined by his Democratic running mate Sara Rodriguez, who secured the nomination for Lt. Governor.

Michels' campaign advisor Chris Walker fired back, calling Evers' comments a distraction from his "failed" leadership.

"Tony Evers and Joe Biden are going to desperately attempt to do everything they can to distract the people of Wisconsin from their massive failures," Walker said. "The media shouldn't take the bait."

The governor also mocked Michels for framing himself as the candidate who can connect with the working class, taking a shot at the multi-million home Michels owns in Connecticut.

During his victory speech, Michels touted working across the aisle and vowed to focus on social issues such as job creation and tackling inflation. He did not make any mention of Trump's unproven claims about the 2020 election or election integrity, despite talking about both issues on the campaign trail.

It could be the first sign of Michels beginning to distance himself from the former president ahead of the general election. Trump visited Waukesha on Friday, Aug. 5, to headline a rally for Michels and continued to push for overturning the election.

Decertifying the election is impossible, according to legal and constitutional experts. However, the topic almost cost Wisconsin's longest-serving Assembly Speaker to lose his seat. State Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) narrowly defeated his primary opponent Adam Steen by 260 votes in the 63rd Assembly race.

Steen primarily campaigned on decertification, which led to Trump and former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman to turn on Vos even after he hired Gableman to investigate the 2020 election.

It led Vos to call Gableman "an embarrassment" at his election watch party, a comment he's now walking back.

"It's really about his actions that's what I was describing," Vos tells CBS 58. "I think the actions he took are certainly regrettable."

Vos added, "All we asked is that he keeps us informed and doesn't engage in partisan politics. He did a really good job of that until sometime in February."

Back in February, Gableman initially wrote Vos a memo floating the idea of overturning the election, to later saying the move would be a “practical impossibility.”

"It's been embarrassing how there's been this back and forth and that Gableman chose to be a part of partisan politics."

The Rochester Republican did maintain he wants to wrap the review up, a discussion he plans to have with his caucus next week.

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