(WASHINGTON) — Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers will win his campaign for reelection over Republican Tim Michels, ABC News projects.
Evers, Wisconsin’s governor since 2018, had been in a tight race against Michels, a construction executive and former GOP candidate, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average.
Those surveys showed the two candidates neck-and-neck heading into Election Day with Michels holding a slim 1-point advantage over Evers in the campaign’s final stretch, though the two traded leads a few times since the late summer.
Evers told GMA3 last month that he believed he was going to win against Michels, arguing Michels took up “some pretty bad positions” during his campaign — citing their differences on voting rights and gun laws.
“I have been able to play goalie for the last four years on a lot of these issues,” Evers said.
He noted to GMA3 that the stakes were “high” this cycle as political maps favored a Republican majority in Wisconsin’s state assembly for years to come. If Michels had won, it would’ve possibly created a Republican trifecta in the state legislature.
Evers told GMA3 that Wisconsin would “look and feel and be a lot different in a lot of negative ways” if that were to be the case.
Michels had the backing of former President Donald Trump, whose endorsement for Michels over Wisconsin’s former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch upended the Republican primary.
“I didn’t have to run for governor,” Michels said at a rally in Green Bay in September. “Donald Trump didn’t have to run for president. But he wanted to drain the swamp. We found out it’s a really big swamp.”
Michels, during the campaign, raised concerns about the validity of Wisconsin’s elections, despite audits and recounts affirming President Joe Biden’s win in the state in 2020, making him one of 61 candidates on the ballot nationwide this fall who’ve questioned the results. There were nearly 200 candidates running this cycle who fully rejected the outcome of the 2020 presidential race, according to FiveThirtyEight.
“Voting rights are on this ballot,” Evers said in their only debate. “It is radical to say, ‘I’m not sure how this works out,’ or ‘fraud happened’ when it didn’t happen.”
In fact, the two candidates showed little common ground in their only face-off.
On abortion access, Evers said he supported codifying Roe v. Wade while Michels said he was “pro-life.”
“The bottom line here is this: Women should have the ability and the right to make decisions about their health care, including reproductive health care, and that includes abortion,” Evers said.
When it came to questions about gun laws, Evers backed both so-called red flag legislation to remove firearms from those deemed a danger and universal background checks — measures Michels opposed.
On education, Michels voiced support for making access to taxpayer-funded school vouchers universal and said he wouldn’t plan to substantially increase funding for public schools. Evers released a plan to increase public school funding by $2 billion.
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