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Tim Michels, with Trump’s support, is the Wisconsin Republicans’ choice as governor.

KAUKAUNA, Wisconsin — Tim Michels, a millionaire construction magnate backed by former President Donald J. Trump, won Wisconsin’s Republican primary for governor, according to The Associated Press.

He defeated former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Tim Ramthun, a state councilor, in a campaign often dominated by voting issues and the 2020 election.

Mr Michels had the prospect of trying to nullify that year’s result once he takes office, and Mr Ramthun focused his bid on a proposal to decertify the results of the 2020 presidential election – a legal impossibility that nonetheless has become a popular thing in Wisconsin Republicans.

Michels will now face Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, in a general election that will determine the fate of access to votes in Wisconsin. Mr. Michels has promised to limit absentee voting and eliminate the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission; Mr. Evers has vetoed more than a dozen Republican bills to change the state’s voting laws.

A Wisconsin native who inherited an infrastructure company from his father, Michels lost races for the State Senate in 1998 and the U.S. Senate in 2004 before moving his family to Greenwich, Conn. He returned to the state this year because he was considering running for governor.

In the final weeks of the race, Mr. Michels, who largely self-funded his campaign, grappled with questions about his loyalty to Mr Trump.

During a televised debate in July, he said he would not make decertifying the 2020 election results a priority in his administration — a position that contradicts Mr Trump’s reiterated desire for President Biden’s victory in the state to be reversed. created. Mr. Michels soon began to say he would consider any legislation the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature sends to his desk.

Then last week, during another debate, Mr. Michels said he would not support Mr Trump in a 2024 presidential campaign. Less than 24 hours later, he returned and told a crowd in Kaukauna that he would support the former president on the day Trump announced his candidacy.

Yet Mr. Michels triumphed largely thanks to his endorsement of Mr. Trump — a fact he repeated in television commercials costing millions of dollars. Ms. Kleefisch was the choice of the state’s Republican political establishment, with the support of dozens of state legislators, members of Congress and former Governor Scott Walker, with whom she served for eight years before losing to Mr. Evers in 2018.

Ms. Kleefisch began a shadow campaign for governor almost the moment after she and Mr. Walker left office. Although she was widely popular during her tenure, she failed to consolidate the party’s support and drew two high-profile and well-funded primary opponents: Mr. Michels and Kevin Nicholson, a businessman whose campaign was funded by far-right billionaire Richard Uihlein.

Mr Nicholson retired from the race in early July due to low polls.

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