Brief

Trump ignores Kleefisch, calls on Duffy to run for Wisconsin governor

By: - October 18, 2021 11:47 am

Then-Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch watches Trump sign a Buy American order | Kleefisch Facebook

It seems Rebecca Kleefisch cannot get a break with her fellow Republicans. First the former lieutenant governor was dissed by stalwarts in her own party who didn’t really want her as former Gov. Scott Walker’s running mate (including Walker and his team). Then, when  lobbyist and former Gov. Tommy Thompson staffer Bill McCoshen decided not to run for governor in 2022, he urged others to get into the race, calling for a competitive primary.

Sean Duffy and Donald Trump (from Sean Duffy’s Congressional Instagram account)

Now, just when she seemed to have secured the blessing of many GOP faithful with Walker and others moving to back her as the frontrunner, former President Donald Trump called for former Congressman Sean Duffy to run — calling him “virtually unbeatable” and praising both this athletic prowess and his wife Rachel.

“Working hard to get very popular and capable Former Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin to run for Governor,” wrote Trump in a statement over the weekend. “He would be fantastic! A champion athlete, Sean loves the people of Wisconsin, and would be virtually unbeatable. His wife, Rachel, is likewise an incredible person.

“They are both doing very well, so this would be a big sacrifice, but hopefully it will be a sacrifice that will be made for the Great State of Wisconsin and its wonderful, hardworking people. Run Sean, Run! (A little spin-off on the great Herschel Walker.)”

An anonymous source told WisPolitics.com that Duffy is considering getting in, even though he bought a residence in New Jersey.  (Duffy and his family moved to New Jersey, but he reportedly maintains an address in Wisconsin and his name is occasionally tossed around as a candidate for U.S. Senate, should Sen. Ron Johnson decide not to run.)

Trump’s praise and his message urging Duffy to run in a primary against Kleefisch to challenge Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, comes despite the fact that Kleefisch’s far-right stances already mimic Trump.

At her announcement, she courted Trump’s endorsement, saying, “I hope that Donald Trump gets involved in this race, from the standpoint [that] his strong leadership is a tremendous contrast to Tony Evers’ and Joe Biden’s weak leadership.”

Kleefisch has worked hard to court Trump voters. Urban Milwaukee’s Bruce Murphy recently wrote a column titled “Kleefisch Tries to Ape Trump,” citing her campaign comparing Evers to mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, her attendance at a political event where the keynote said the Jan. 6 insurrection was staged and her calling vaccine mandates “an epic, fresh new level of government overreach, creepiness.”

“All of this is by design to convince hard-core Trumpsters she is one of them,” wrote Murphy.

Apparently she also has to convince Trump himself.

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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications. She is excited to be back at the craft of journalism as Deputy Editor of the Wisconsin Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.

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