Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is reelected, preserving Democratic power in swing state
MADISON, Wis. — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers won reelection to a second term, beating back an effort by Republicans to recapture all branches of government in the perennial swing state.
According to a race call by The Associated Press, Evers defeated Republican challenger Tim Michels, a construction executive who emerged from a contentious GOP primary after an endorsement by former President Donald Trump.
Evers was helped in the closing days of the campaign by a visit from former President Barack Obama, who also recorded a TV ad on the governor's behalf. While President Joe Biden visited Wisconsin in September, he stayed away from the state in the closing months of the campaign. So, too, did Trump.
Evers' campaign also relentlessly attacked Michels over his long support for banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest.
For Evers, a former teacher who previously served as Wisconsin's state superintendent of public instruction, the victory comes four years after he narrowly defeated former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Under Walker, Republicans reshaped Wisconsin government, rolling back public and private sector union rights in a state with a long progressive history.
Evers spent his first term in office at odds with a Republican-dominated Legislature on everything from COVID-19 policy to election laws. That's likely to happen again after Republicans redrew the state's political maps to give themselves an even bigger advantage in races for the state Senate and Assembly.
Evers' victory is significant not so much for what it will let Democrats accomplish but for what it will let them prevent. Over the past two years, Evers vetoed 126 Republican bills, breaking the old record set roughly a century ago.
It's also a massive win for Democrats in an election cycle where they faced significant political headwinds. Typically, when one party controls both the White House and Congress, Wisconsin elections swing in the other direction. Evers' victory bucked that trend.
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