Wisconsin Republican says the quiet part out loud: GOP "will never lose another election" if I win

Tim Michels, who is running neck-and-neck with Gov. Tony Evers, seeks permanent partisan control

By Areeba Shah

Staff Writer

Published November 2, 2022 2:00PM (EDT)

Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels speaks to guests during a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels speaks to guests during a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

"Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I'm elected governor," Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels said this week. 

Michels, who's running against incumbent Democrat Tony Evers, made the statement during a campaign event in Jackson County, according to an audio clip released by American Bridge 21st Century, a left-leaning political action committee, Business Insider reported

Like other candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Michels has repeatedly questioned the results of the 2020 election. Recently, he even falsely suggested that he could attempt to decertify Wisconsin's results in the 2020 presidential election once he becomes governor, according to WKOW

He is not alone. Election deniers across the country are supporting radical positions when it comes to accepting election results they don't agree with.

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and secretary of state candidates Mark Finchem in have echoed similar claims, suggesting they would only honor the results of an election they agree with. 

Before winning his August primary, Finchem vowed he would not concede if he lost. 

"Ain't gonna be no concession speech coming from this guy. I'm going to demand a 100% hand count if there is the slightest hint that there's an impropriety. And I will urge the next governor to do the same," he said at the time. 

Lake has repeatedly refused to say whether she would accept a loss to Democratic opponent Katie Hobbs.

Lake refused to accept the possibility that she could lose in a recent interview with CNN's Dana Bash, who pressed her on whether she would accept a defeat.

"I'm going to win the election and I'm going to accept that result," she said repeatedly. 

The former news anchor has called Trump "the real winner of Arizona" and even said that she "would not have certified" the votes had she been the governor at the time.

Finchem and Lake even filed a lawsuit attempting to block the use of vote-counting machines in the midterm election, but a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.  

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Another Trump-backed candidate, Blake Masters, has already started sowing doubt about the outcome of his challenge to the incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz. 

Masters has been telling his supporters to look out for thousands of fraudulent votes that will seize victory from him, The Guardian reported.

Abe Hamadeh, a Republican running for Arizona attorney general, has also started making preemptive moves to stoke doubts about the election, claiming without evidence that mail-in voting is riddled with fraud.

In Nevada, Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt has said he'd support legal challenges to the midterm results, projecting fraud on elections that haven't even taken place yet. 

"With me at the top of the ticket, we're going to be able to get everybody at the table and come up with a full plan, do our best to try to secure this election, get as many observers as we can, and file lawsuits early, if there are lawsuits we can file to try to tighten up the election," he told radio host Wayne Allyn Root back in August.

Laxalt has promoted the false narrative that Trump lost in six key battleground states due to widespread election fraud.

In other swing states like Michigan, where a top election official is a Democrat, Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon is questioning how midterm elections are being conducted.

"We have to wonder what the secretary of state will do when it comes to the '22 election," Dixon has said. 

She is running against incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. 

Some Republican candidates, who are a part of the America First Secretary of State Coalition, are also supporting Trump's push to keep "traditional absentee ballots" and "eliminate mail-in ballots" – even though election experts warn such a move could trigger mass errors

Nevada secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant, who serves as the leader of the coalition, said at a rally last month that his class of pro-Trump secretaries of state would "fix the whole country and President Trump is going to be president again in 2024."

By Areeba Shah

Areeba Shah is a staff writer at Salon covering news and politics. Previously, she was a research associate at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a reporting fellow for the Pulitzer Center, where she covered how COVID-19 impacted migrant farmworkers in the Midwest.

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