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Rebecca Kleefisch to Announce Run for Governor as Evers’ Approval Sinks Below 50% in New Poll

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Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch will announce that she is running for governor at an event in Waukesha County on Sept. 9, 2021, several Republican officials told Wisconsin Right Now.

The news comes as a new poll shows that support for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has sunk below 50% even as support for election reform proposals he vetoed enjoys broad support from Wisconsinites.

Rebecca Kleefisch, a former television reporter, will join Jonathan Wichmann in the race for the Republican nomination. Others mentioned as possible candidates include former Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson, lobbyist and former Tommy Thompson Commerce Secretary Bill McCoshen, and state Rep. John Macco.

Rebecca Kleefisch Steps Down From the 1848 Project

Rebecca Kleefisch’s expected announcement comes after she stepped down from the 1848 Project group she founded, which most took as a signal she’s in the race for governor. Kleefisch and her organization recently unveiled a 16-page policy agenda called The Forward Agenda.

The Forward Agenda

The Forward Agenda includes plans such as hiring 1,000 new cops in the state, pushing tough penalties for “mobs and riots,” increasing technical and trade training in high schools, banning critical race theory, creating “one uniform program for school choice,” moving state agencies out of Madison, setting “uniform rules for casting and counting votes,” and creating “a right to sue for victims of viewpoint discrimination by Big Tech,” among other measures.

“My topline takeaway from all my listening and travels is this: Wisconsinites deserve better than what they’re getting from their governor right now,” she wrote in the introduction to that document. “Whatever the issue—public safety, economic growth, constitutional rights and liberties—people look at Madison and see a massive failure to listen or lead. Isolated in Madison, cut off from reality, slow to act and afraid to take charge, the Governor has failed at a time when we could least afford it. Almost regardless of the issue, the answer starts with a change at the top.”

Governor Evers’ Poll Results

The news comes on the heels of a new poll released by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. The poll surveyed 1,000 Wisconsin registered voters from Aug. 22-28, 2021, via online, text or phone. Evers’ approval rating fell below 50% in that poll.

The poll found that 48% approved of Evers and 47% disapproved. When it comes to Joe Biden, 48% approved and 51% disapproved, but the survey was conducted before the Afghanistan withdrawal occurred.

“Wisconsin voters strongly support election reforms, including those recently vetoed by Governor Tony Evers,” the release says. It also says that 70% of Wisconsin voters are very motivated to vote in 2022, higher than the nationwide figure of 58%. Republican voters were the most motivated group in the new poll. Especially motivated? “Voters who prefer Trump-like policies.”

The poll found that 84% of respondents supported photo ID to vote (strong support crossed political, gender, and racial lines) and 69% supporting a uniform statewide requirement for people voting by mail to provide a copy of a photo ID with their ballot, legislation Evers vetoed. Even more than half of Democrats supported the latter.

Another reform supported by 65% of voters but vetoed by Evers: “65% of voters support a proposal that would make it unlawful for political activists to collect ballots from other people and deliver them to an election office, a practice commonly referred to as ‘ballot harvesting’ or ‘ballot trafficking.’” And 87% of voters favored a requirement for every election “clerk to use the same standards for correcting errors on absentee ballots, legislation which was vetoed by Evers,” also vetoed by Evers.

The poll said that 44% of survey respondents voted for Biden, 44% for Trump 3% for someone else, 7% did not vote, and 2% were not sure.