Now that Gov. Tony Evers is officially running for re-election in 2022: Who will challenge him and how much of his handling of the pandemic will define the race?
"I'm going to run, absolutely, looking forward to it," said Evers.
As Gov. Evers prepares for a 2022 campaign, much of his first term has been defined by political battles with the Republican-controlled legislature on just about everything, including the pandemic.
Charles Benson: "What do you think you could have accomplished if Republicans bought in?"
Gov. Evers: "I'm not sure, I mean we had discussions."
Republican lawmakers won a court battle over the Ever's administration's Safer at Home order, and the state Supreme Court this year put an end to mask mandates.
Evers believes wearing masks saved lives. "I think we were successful in that; our messaging was strong," said Evers.
Gov. Evers won in 2018 by 30,000 votes, or about 1% of the vote. President Biden won in 2020 by about 20,000 votes, or less than 1%. Any reason to think 2022 won't be another close election?
"No, I think you're always safe in Wisconsin to predict close elections," said Marquette Law School Poll Director Charles Franklin.
Franklin says it's unclear what impact the pandemic will have on the race. November 2022 is still a long way off.
"In our polling throughout the pandemic, Gov. Evers got strong marks for the way he'd handled it," said Franklin.
The last Marquette poll was in October of 2020.
For Republican challengers, Franklin says he sees a lot of what-ifs, for now.
"What else happens over the summer with the budget?" said Franklin. "What happens as Republican candidates get formally announced and, in the race, start bringing their own issues to the table?"
Republican political newcomer Jonathan Wichmann has already declared. Other potential candidates include former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, former Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson, Congressman Mike Gallagher and longtime lobbyist Bill McCoshen.