Tavern League endorses Michels in bid for governor

BARABOO, Wis. — The Tavern League of Wisconsin on Tuesday threw its support behind Republican Tim Michels as he hopes to unseat Democratic Gov. Tony Evers this fall.

During a campaign event at Square Tavern in Baraboo Tuesday afternoon, Tavern League members blasted Evers for the COVID-19 restrictions he implemented early in the pandemic which they argued caused serious harm to their businesses.

Michels, they argued, understands their needs better as a fellow business owner.

“We need to get back on track, we need to get everybody rolling in the right direction and keep it going and not get shut down ever again unless it needs to be, and I will tell you Tim Michels is our guy,” said Keith Koehler, who owns The Keg & Patio Bar & Grill in the Wisconsin Dells and serves on the Tavern League’s executive board.

The Tavern League sued Evers in October 2020 over a pandemic-related order the governor imposed that limited occupancy inside businesses to 25%.

For his part, Michels said the race comes down to “a businessman versus a big government, overreach government, lifelong bureaucrat in Tony Evers.”

The Tavern League had endorsed former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch over Michels in the GOP primary for governor earlier this year; Michels defeated Kleefisch by a five-point margin in August.