WAUKESHA, Wis. – Businessman Tim Mitchell has won Wisconsin’s Republican primary for governor, NBC News projects, leading up to a general election against Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, which would be the most consequential in the nation.

Michelle, backed by former President Donald Trump, surpassed the state’s deep reservoir of establishment support around former lieutenant governor Rebecca Clayfish. State Representative Tim Ramthune, who has vowed to challenge the results, finished third.

It’s another swing state victory for Trump, who continues to lie about his losses to Wisconsin and other battleground states in 2020, while aiming to establish allies he hopes will win in 2024. They’ll be loyal if they make another White House bid. Michelle has accepted Trump’s controversial claims that a second term was stolen from him. And while he has been upset at times, Mitchell has said he is open to attempts to annul President Joe Biden’s victory in the state, regardless of state or federal law to annul state electoral votes. There is no real legal vehicle.

Evers was re-nominated without protest.

Supporters of Mitchell – gathered inside a small catering hall in Waukesha, a Republican stronghold whose voters are crucial in the primary race – sipped drinks and munched on sliders and other sandwiches as they awaited results Tuesday night. As Michels took the lead, viewership quickly increased and they broke out into sporadic and upbeat chants of “U-S-A” and celebratory screams.

Moments after NBC News and other outlets called the race for him, Michels took the stage, telling the enthusiastic crowd that as governor, “my first priority will be to take care of the hardworking people of Wisconsin.”

His general election campaign, he said, would be focused on “standing up for the hardworking people of Wisconsin.”

“He has been left behind by the Democratic Party which only wants to focus on social issues,” Mitchell said. “We need an outsider and a businessman and an experienced person in the governor’s office.”

Michels also acknowledged Clayfish and Ramthun as “tremendous” candidates and thanked Trump for their support. However, he did not once mention electoral integrity, the 2020 election, voter fraud, or attempts to annul the 2020 election – all favorite topics of the former president.

The co-owner of a successful family pipeline construction company, Mitchell had treaded cautiously in the final weeks of the race, sending mixed messages about whether he was willing to comply with Trump’s pressure to backtrack on the state’s 2020 election results. How ready was Both Mitchell and Clayfish had dismissed Trump’s claims of voter fraud during the primary. However, Ramthun was the most vocal on such issues.

Klefisk’s list of endorsers included Scott Walker, the former governor with whom he served, and former Vice President Mike Pence. Pence’s involvement triggered another GOP proxy war between Trump and his former No. 2, who resisted pressure to reverse the 2020 election and is believed to be laying the groundwork for his own 2024 presidential bid. Huh.

Some Cliffish voters who spoke with NBC News during Tuesday’s primary said they were impressed by the work she and Walker did together. Others echoed her concerns that Mitchell, who owns a home in Connecticut and lived there part of the year, was not fully involved in the crisis Wisconsin has dealt with in recent years.

Bill Means, a retired school administrator from Pleasant Prairie, called Mitchell a “Johnny-come-with-lots of money” and “partial year resident”.

Michelle’s voters, on the other hand, consistently said they were drawn to her experience as an “outsider” businessman who, up until this race, had largely stayed out of politics – though some said Trump’s support had dented her. Difference in support decision. ,

“I found her refreshing,” said Carol Smith, a retired counselor at Okonomowoc. “I think any of them would represent Wisconsin well, but I like that he’s an outsider.

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