MADISON, Wis. — Democrats are trying to keep Tim Michels off the ballot for what they claim is a mistake with his nomination papers for governor.
The Republican candidate called it a petty and frivolous complaint. It comes after Michels was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
TMJ4's Chief Political Reporter Charles Benson talked with Michels on Friday, a day after he got the endorsement call from President Trump.
"It was kind of a really neat moment," said Michels. "I had a nice three, four-minute conversation with President Trump. He told me, 'hey, I think you're the guy that can win this.'"
But over the weekend democrats were challenging Michels nomination papers, saying he did not have the proper mailing address listed on many of his nomination papers.
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"This challenge shows that Trump endorsed candidate Tim Michels only has 345 valid signatures, well below the 2,000 signatures required to get on the ballot, said Ben Wikler, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
Michels campaign filed 4,000 signatures, but many pages of his nomination papers list Michel's Chenequa voting address, which is different than his Hartland mailing address.
But some nomination papers included both the Chenequa and Hartland addresses.
"Election integrity means at its core following the law," said Wikler. "Tim Michels did not follow the laws laid out in Wisconsin statue."
The Michels campaign says it will vigorously defend itself when the challenge comes up Friday before the Wisconsin Election Commission.
Michels says election integrity is a big issue after republicans complained the 2020 election was not fair despite no findings by the courts of any widespread voter fraud.
"I'm looking through the windshield not the rear-view mirror," said Michels. "I want to make sure that it doesn't happen ever again here in Wisconsin. The hard-working taxpaying law-abiding people of Wisconsin, they deserve to know that we have fair and honest elections in the state."
Michels, along with Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson and Tim Ramthun, have agreed to participate in TMJ4's primary debate on July 24 at Marquette University. The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will face Gov. Tony Evers.
All four candidates have met our metric in polling or fundraising to participate.