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Divisive WI GOP Primary Could Get Even Messier As Rebecca Kleefisch Fails to Clear the Field

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A new report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says either State Rep. John Macco or businessman Eric Hovde are considering joining the Wisconsin GOP primary for governor, threatening Rebecca Kleefisch.

Macco and Hovde have teamed up to decide whether one should jump in, a decision the Sentinel says would “shake up” the primary. If either chooses to run, they could have access to Hovde’s funds, creating an expensive race to the right for Kleefisch.

Both are also ready for the brutal race to the right: Macco says a bid from either of them would be “not dissimilar from how President Trump decided to run.” Making matters worse for Kleefisch, Trump’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, is allegedly helping Macco and Hovde decide.

And they’re not the only ones considering making the leap. Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson is currently considering a bid and Donald Trump has urged former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy to run. Lobbyist Bill McCoshen even floated former Gov. Tommy Thompson as a potential candidate.

A Trump-backed primary bid would be catastrophic for Kleefisch, taking away Trump’s loyal base and forcing the Republican candidates to duke it out for far-right support. McCoshen has sounded the alarm that Kleefisch could be in trouble, saying, “If Donald Trump endorses someone else … that person will instantly jump to the front of the line.”

“The latest news in Wisconsin’s brutal GOP primary is horrible for Rebecca Kleefisch,” said DGA Senior Communication Advisor Christina Amestoy. “On top of defending her record of defunding public schools and spreading COVID conspiracy theories, Kleefisch could have to ward off several well-funded, Trump-backed candidates. Whoever emerges from this nasty primary will be forced to defend their far-right record against a well-respected Gov. Tony Evers.”