ICYMI: Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort becomes ground zero in the Republican race for Wisconsin governor

Apr 11, 2022


April 11, 2022

Contact: Hannah Menchhoff (hannah.menchhoff@wisdems.org)

ICYMI: Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort becomes ground zero in the Republican race for Wisconsin governor

MADISON, Wis. – Mar-a-Lago has been a popular spot over the last few weeks for Wisconsin Republicans to get out of the cold and beg for Donald Trump’s support, who despite the lies and a lost election, still has a grip on the Republican party. Today the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel highlighted how Mar-a-Lago has become “ground zero in the Republican race for Wisconsin governor.”

Tim Ramthun is the latest Republican gubernatorial candidate to make the Florida pilgrimage in the hopes of getting the coveted endorsement. Rebecca Kleefisch and Tommy Thompson have also made the rounds

While not running for governor himself, Michael Gableman was also at Mar-a-Lago this week – perhaps to make sure Trump knows that​​ regardless of setbacks, he is still committed to the fight of illegally decertifying the 2020 election.

In an increasingly messy and divisive primary battle, candidates are counting on an endorsement from Trump to stand out. One thing is clear: Republicans are working hard to make this campaign a race to the bottom.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort becomes ground zero in the Republican race for Wisconsin governor

A third Republican eyeing the governor’s office traveled to Donald Trump’s Florida resort this week as Wisconsin’s Democratic incumbent used his opponents’ trips to see the former president to build a campaign war chest. 

A pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago has become a requisite for Wisconsin Republicans in 2022 and Rep. Tim Ramthun, a Republican from Campbellsport, arrived there Thursday as he crafts a campaign largely on the idea that President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory is illegitimate. 

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“You realize still how important it is to the base, to Trump’s supporters, this election integrity stuff is, right?” Doug Rogalla, chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party in southwestern Wisconsin, said in response to why Mar-a-Lago has become an apparent mandatory campaign stop for Wisconsin Republicans.

“That should answer the question for you.”

Ramthun’s visit, to attend a fundraiser for Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake, was the latest in a string of trips Republicans have made in the last month to see Trump as their primary field for governor takes shape.

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is running against Ramthun in the GOP primary for governor, traveled to Mar-a-Lago in early March. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is mulling whether to get in the race, met with Trump at the club last week.

A spokeswoman for Kevin Nicholson, who also is running for governor, did not respond to whether Nicholson was also planning to take a trip.

“There’s only one reason to go there,” said Bill Feehan, chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party. “Trump is still a driving force in the Republican Party and everybody wants to get his blessing.”


Ramthun on Wednesday disputed Evers’ characterization of his trip, saying it is “personal in nature” and not directly related to his campaign. 

“I go seeking no expectations or asks, just to be with my friend at her event, which has nothing to do with me other than being her guest,” he said. “It appears Gov. Evers will do anything to leverage people to give him money out of the false fear he perpetuates in order to obtain dollars to line his pockets.”

Ramthun and Trump discussed endorsements in a December phone call, according to a March 13 webcast interview Ramthun did with Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, a Texas-based entrepreneur who once invented a cat-shaped barcode scanner and testified before Georgia lawmakers in December 2020 claiming to be an expert in determining whether ballots were real or fake.  

“He said you’re my kind of guy and I kind of thought that at that point, when the time came, he would come back around. He hasn’t yet for the state,” Ramthun told Pulitzer, in response to whether more established Republican politicians were “manipulating” Trump’s endorsements by spending money to hold fundraisers at Mar-a-Lago, suggesting campaign endorsements could be bought. 

“I’m not one to beg and get desperate about it. He called me on Dec. 3. I didn’t call him. And I got the impression from him and some inner circle folks that I was working with, regarding attorneys for constitutional support (for election decertification), that I was his guy.”

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