Below, we compile quotes from campaigns’ ads, websites, social media posts, and statements reported in the media that illustrate endorsement or opposition to election denial — claims that the process or result of the last presidential election was illegitimate. Each of the candidates is running for an office that will play a role in administering future elections in Wisconsin. Information about the financing of these campaigns and those in other battleground states can be found here.
Gov. Tony Evers (D) has defended the 2020 election as “safe & secure.” A campaign email claims that “our democracy is in danger,” saying that Evers’s opponents are “amplifying Trump’s big lie” and that the advisers of one candidate “have been implicated in a plot to send fake electors to steal Wisconsin in 2020.” Another email accuses his opponents of “lies about the election and unpatriotic attacks on our democracy,” concluding that “democracy itself is on the ballot.”
When asked in a February radio interview whether Biden won the election, former Lieutenant Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) said, “I think the better question is, did he win the state of Wisconsin fairly? And I think that answer is going to wind up being no.” Kleefisch supported audits into the 2020 election, citing voter fraud and donations to fund election administration originating from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s charity. She tweeted about her plan to create a state election integrity agency to “stop fraud,” saying “Confidence in our elections must be restored.”
The campaign website of state Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R) features his proposed resolution that, among other things, “reclaims Wisconsin’s 10 fraudulent electoral ballots cast for Joseph R. Biden and Kamala Harris.” The alleged factual support for this includes “manipulations” by the Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life, the “statistical impossibility” of the vote results, and “deletion of log file data” from voting machines. On his campaign page, Ramthun posted a video he said “vindicated” his work to change the election result: a Tucker Carlson segment featuring claims of “massive election bribery” and “elder abuse, all to wring out votes” from residents of senior enters.
Jonathan Wichmann (withdrew to run for lieutenant governor)
Facebook ads from the gubernatorial campaign of business owner Jonathan Wichmann (R) claimed there was “corruption surrounding state elections” and supported the “effort to decertify the 2020 election.” On his podcast, Wichmann called for a “forensic audit,” saying he believed that “there absolutely was” election fraud.
In Wisconsin, the secretary of state does not administer elections; the Wisconsin Elections Commission does. That agency, like elections administrators in many states, has been attacked over the 2020 elections. There has been a push, including by several declared candidates for secretary of state or governor, to give the secretary of state greater power over elections.
Jay Schroeder (R), a former town supervisor of Menasha, Wisconsin, called for “the electors of Wisconsin for the 2020 Presidential election to be rescinded” in a press release that described certain voter registration statistics as a “RED FLAG for phantom voters,” a term election deniers use for allegations that identities of dead people are used to cast votes. Schroeder’s campaign announcement called for the secretary of state to oversee elections, saying: “The days of rigging elections for fraud are over.”
On his campaign Facebook page, Justin Schmidtka (R) shared calls to “decertify” the 2020 election results and “reclaim” Wisconsin’s electoral college votes. He also shared a statement from Trump claiming “cheating in the 2020 election.” He has called for the “dismantling” of the current election administration agency, the Wisconsin Elections Commission.