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GOP business owner Michels running for Wisconsin governor

April 22, 2022 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Business owner Tim Michels filed paperwork Friday to run in the Republican primary for Wisconsin governor, arriving late to a crowded field, but with the personal wealth to back a campaign.

Michels, who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate 18 years ago, joins former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, former U.S. Marine Kevin Nicholson and state Rep. Tim Ramthun in the race to be decided Aug. 9. The winner will advance to face Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

A spokesman for Michels’ campaign did not immediately return a message seeking comment. He was expected to make a formal announcement and launch television campaign ads Monday across the state.

The other Republican candidates also did not immediately return messages.

Michels, 59, is co-owner of Michels Corporation, a family-owned international energy and infrastructure construction business. His decision to enter the race comes just days after Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson said he would not run.

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This will be his first campaign since Michels lost to Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in 2004. He’s been largely out of public view since then.

Polls have shown Kleefisch, the lieutenant governor under Scott Walker for eight years, to be leading the pack. Nicholson lost the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in 2018 and Ramthun is mounting his first statewide run, centering his platform on his false claim that the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin was won by Donald Trump.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that Rebecca Kleefisch is a former lieutenant governor.