Evers is running… against who? The current state of Wisconsin’s gubernatorial, Senate races in 2022.
MADISON, Wis.– Seventeen months out from the 2022 midterm elections, the field of candidates is slowly starting to form in what political analysts expect will be several highly-contested statewide races.
“Our elections have a history of going deep into the night, early into the morning, and sometimes being recounted,” said UW-Madison Political Science professor Michael Wagner, only half-joking.
History is on Wagner’s side: In 2018, current Governor Tony Evers won by less than 30,000 votes. Evers officially announced his re-election bid at the state Democratic convention over the weekend. Wagner doesn’t expect any Democrats will challenge him.
However, given that two Republicans have already declared, he anticipates several big names could announce soon, including former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, or current Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
“The governor’s seat in Wisconsin is a hotly contested one,” Wagner added.
Marquette Law School poll director Charles Franklin agreed.
“We’ve had enough close races in recent years that, before we know anything about the race, you’d just expect it to be very close,” he said.
And the governor’s race likely won’t be the only close contest.
Wisconsin also has a U.S. Senate seat up for grabs in 2022, although the state of that race is less clear. Republican Ron Johnson hasn’t announced whether or not he’ll seek a third term, although he already has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.
“If Johnson doesn’t run, it scrambles other politicians’ calculations,” Franklin explained.
“We could see one of the people who we think might run for the Governor in Wisconsin shift to the Senate,” Wagner said.
On the Democrat side, current Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes is rumored to be eying a run, notably absent from Evers’ re-election kickoff. Another possibility is Attorney General Josh Kaul, who Wagner said has already proven he can win a statewide election.
“Right now, the only thing we can say with certainty, is that it’s very uncertain,” Wagner cautioned.
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