WISCONSIN — Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson endorsed construction company co-owner Tim Michels for governor on Friday, a move that comes after Thompson decided against a run earlier this year.
Thompson's endorsement comes after Michels also won the backing of Donald Trump last month. Polls show Michels is in a tight primary race with former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
Thompson, elected four times as Wisconsin governor, said in April when he opted against running for governor that he would consider endorsing in the primary because he wants a Republican to win. He said Friday he believes that Michels is that candidate.
Thompson, in a statement, said he has known the Michels family for decades and he believes Michels has the experience to “solve tough problems.” The Michels family started and still runs Michels Corp., a Wisconsin-based construction company.
" Tim Michels knows how to lead large organizations and how-to get-tough jobs done, and that’s what Wisconsin needs,” Thompson said.
Michels said in a statement that he was “happy the governor who reformed welfare and developed the first school choice program in America is now on our team.”
In addition to Michels and Kleefisch, state Rep. Timothy Ramthun is also running. A fourth candidate, Kevin Nicholson, dropped out this week and said he would not endorse anyone.
The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.