Because the man did lose here.
Who will Donald Trump endorse? That’s the big question heading into this weekend’s Republican state convention in Middleton.
The defeated former President came out of Tuesday’s 05-17-22 primary elections around the country with mixed results. Trump endorsed the winner in Pennsylvania’s governor’s primary, a fellow election-denier. His pick for Senate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, awaits a recount. Trump’s picks in Nebraska and Idaho crashed and burned. So did his unconscionable endorsement of the bad boy wonder, Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina. (He makes Marjorie Taylor Greene look like Atticus Finch — but so does Cawthorn.)
Wisconsin’s primary elections aren’t until August 9 (!!!) — but Republican convention delegates endorse — unless they decide not to. Some candidates don’t want the convention to endorse anyone — mostly because they don’t expect to get a majority of delegates. Kevin Nicholson is in that category.
Right out of the gate!
Trump may wait until a front-runner emerges to run up his score. Because we’ve got a Republican horse race for governor of Wisconsin. Tim Michels — the latest entrant into the race — just pulled ahead of the first announced candidate, Rebecca Kleefisch, according to Public Policy Polling, by 27 to 26% — well within the margin of error. But still remarkable, given that Michels has been in the race just three weeks. Becky announced eight months ago! After serving eight years as lieutenant governor and beating a well publicized recall with Scott Walker (who is endorsing her). (Nicholson has no traction at 9%. The best news is that champion election-denier Timothy Ramthun merits only 6%. But he’ll have the My Pillow man at his hospitality suite Friday night.)
Which may explain Becky’s latest campaign mailer, which informed delegates (on the flip side of the card shown above):
“Only one candidate still stands with President Donald Trump: Rebecca Kleefisch.”
Is it an act of desperation? Bob Dohnal, the founder of the Wisconsin Conservative Digest, contends Kleefisch’s cupboard is bare. Michels, by contrast, can self-finance and (we hear) is spending $1 million a week. Michels’ mailer to delegates this week makes no mention of the Head Insurrectionist. Is the contruction magnate following the playbook of Virginia’s deep-pocketed governor, Glenn Youngkin, and keeping #45 at arm’s distance? Is Trump the embodiment of Newton’s Third Law? That for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?
Jonathan Bernstein writes in Bloomberg: “Win or lose, Trump’s candidates are winning about a third of the vote. That’s not nothing, but it does mean that two-thirds of Republican primary voters are either ignoring or opposing his wishes. … The Club for Growth, big individual funders such as … Peter Thiel, politicians with local clout such as Republican Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina, … and most of all Republican-aligned media such as Fox News and talk radio hosts are probably a much bigger story in terms of actually moving votes than Trump is.”
Blaska’s Bottom Line: As for convention endorsements, we remember when Republicans endorsed Bob Kasten for governor but Lee Sherman Dreyfus won the primary and the general election. In 2018, the convention endorsed Eric Hovde but voters chose Tommy Thompson in the primary. Tapped out by the intramural contest, Tommy lost to Tammy Baldwin for U.S. Senator.