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Michels is MIA as Nicholson, Kleefisch, and Ramthun Race to the Far Right in First GOP Debate

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In the first debate of the chaotic GOP primary, Kevin Nicholson, Rebecca Kleefisch, and Tim Ramthun all went full MAGA, embracing the Big Lie and pledging to preserve Wisconsin’s century-old abortion ban and fire any prosecutor or sheriff who refuses to enforce it.

The candidates piled criticism on Trump-endorsed Tim Michels, who failed to appear, leaving an empty podium in his place.

Here’s what people are saying about the nasty, extreme GOP debate:

  • Green Bay Press Gazette: “​​Kleefisch, Nicholson and state Rep. Tim Ramthun largely agreed on the issues Giganti brought forward but a notable difference was in their answers to whether they believed the 2020 election was ‘stolen,’ referring to Trump’s false argument that voter fraud led to his loss to President Joe Biden. Ramthun was unequivocal and said yes. Kleefisch and Nicholson attempted to evade a yes or no answer.”
  • CBS 58: “The only candidate not attending: Trump-endorsed construction magnate Tim Michels. His absence did not go unnoticed.”
  • Wisconsin Right Now: “Republican gubernatorial candidates Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson, and Timothy Ramthun took the gloves off, slamming businessman Tim Michels for skipping a candidate debate in Green Bay and raising questions about his residency and ties to organizations that worked to raise the state’s gas tax.”
  • Wisconsin State Journal: “All three candidates participating in Monday’s event also praised the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn its landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade. They also said, if elected governor, they would actively fire district attorneys who refuse to enforce Wisconsin’s 1849 law, which prohibits doctors from providing abortions unless the procedure is necessary to protect the mother’s life and contains no exemptions for rape and incest.”
  • Associated Press: “Three Republican gubernatorial hopefuls say they would fire prosecutors who refuse to enforce Wisconsin’s 173-year-old ban on abortions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing Roe vs. Wade.”
  • NBC 26: On abortion, “Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch says she’ll keep the state’s preventive law intact … Kevin Nicholson agrees. He says he has the endorsement of Pro-Life Wisconsin … State representative Timothy Ramthun says he’s happy Wisconsin has laws restricting abortion.”

“In their first debate, every candidate in the GOP field failed to say how they’ll deliver for Wisconsinites and instead spouted off extreme and out-of-touch stances about the Big Lie and banning abortion,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “Tim Michels’ failure to appear proves he’s evidently a part-time candidate for governor in addition to being a part-time Wisconsin resident.”