Wisconsin Primary Election: GOP governor's race important, voters say

Tim Michels, a wealthy businessman endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won the Republican primary for Wisconsin governor on Tuesday, Aug. 9 and will face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in a contest that could reshape elections in the marquee battleground. Michels defeated former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who was endorsed by former Vice President Mike Pence and had backing from establishment Republicans, including ex-Gov. Scott Walker.

With several Democratic candidates for the United States Senate race dropping out, that left one front-runner – Mandela Barnes. Some focused on the other big race on the other side of the ballot Tuesday – the Republican race for governor.

Voters anticipated the primary would help put the November election into focus.

At the Brookfield Convention Center, Dave Wendland was one of the first in line Tuesday morning.

"Every race is important," said Wendland. "The gubernatorial race is one of the most important, but all of the races are important."


Wendland said he sees Waukesha County playing a big role this fall.

"And I think it’s important to lay the groundwork and get the right candidates on the ballot for November and move forward into 2023," said Wendland.

In Milwaukee's Walker's Point,150 voters cast ballots by noon Tuesday at Bradley Tech High School.

"This is our right as an American to vote, and it’s really important to make sure your voice is heard," said Linda Heipp. 

Wisconsin primary GOP Wisconsin governor’s race — Kleefisch, Michels, Ramthun

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

Heipp was among those casting ballots Tuesday morning. 

"What race was important to you to be sure to vote in?" asked FOX6's Bill Miston.

"Definitely for governor," said Heipp. "I want to see something happen there."

"Voters want to be where the action is," said Mordecai Lee, UW-Milwaukee professor. "I think a lot of Wisconsinites view today’s primary as an elimination round. They’re deciding whose team they want to root for."


Mandela Barnes

Lee said with Barnes poised to take the Democratic ticket for U.S. Senate, he suspected independent voters would turn to the Republican ticket Tuesday.

"I hope that people who plan to vote on the Republican side not only pay attention to the marquee race but the lesser primaries because they’ll be decided for Republicans, too," said Lee.

"I just think it’s important that I make my choices," said Greeta Hofbauer, Waukesha County voter.

Hofbauer, a naturalized citizen, said she tries to vote in every election.

"Really, all the races brought me out the polls – the Senate race – all of them," said Hofbauer. "I feel it’s important to make your thoughts or choices known."