The Wisconsin Elections Commission voted on Friday to keep Trump-endorsed construction executive Tim Michels on the GOP ballot following a challenge from Democrats.
The move came after Democrats challenged petitions to put Michels on the ballot, arguing that the petitions did not properly list his mailing and voting addresses. The complaint, supported by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, was filed by Madison resident Jane Bernstein.
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Several on the commission said that Michels’ future as governor should be left up to Wisconsin voters. They voted 6-0 to dismiss the challenge from Democrats.
“The people of Wisconsin won today. But this won’t be the last obstacle Madison insiders throw my way,” Michels said in a statement following the vote. “My campaign has not lost a beat throughout this frivolous process. I am a fighter who is undeterred.”
The controversy stemmed from a difference in voting and mailing address municipality on Michels’ ballot petitions.
“While all of his petitions listed the same street address, the challenged petitions listed his municipality as the ‘Village of Chenequa,’ which is Michels’ voting address. Michels’ mailing address — the one recognized by the U.S. Postal Service — uses the municipality of Hartland,” Wisconsin Public Radio explained.
Attorneys for Michels said that his mail would be delivered to the same place, regardless of municipality.
“In Bernstein’s fantasy land, meanwhile, there is only One, True Address for every residence, and no variation from it will result in delivery,” Michels’ attorneys said. “In reality, Wisconsinites from small towns without post offices receive mail every day that is addressed to their actual city or town of residence, even if it is not the city that USPS officially associates with their Zip Code.”
The decision also followed the staff of the Wisconsin Election Commission recommending that Michels be kept on the ballot.
“Candidates who provide reasonable evidence that either a mailing or residential address will, in and of itself, result in consistent mail delivery to the appropriate location have complied with the requirements of Wisconsin Statute,” said Wisconsin Election Commission staff attorney Jim Witecha in a memo.
Michels is looking to challenge incumbent Governor Tony Evers (D-WI) and faces a number of Republican rivals, including former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, former Marine Kevin Nicholson, and State Rep. Tim Ramthun. The Republican primary is on August 9.
Last week, Michels received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.
“During my Administration, Tim served on my infrastructure task force, and helped us plan and start building the Keystone XL Pipeline before Joe Biden launched his assault on American Energy production,” Trump stated at the time.
Michels revised his stance on the Wisconsin Election Commission last month, saying that he believed that the commission was “not salvageable” after previously advocating to “dramatically reform” the body.