(NewsNation) — The highly anticipated and closely watched Wisconsin governor’s race has been called by NewsNation/ Decision Desk HQ in favor of incumbent Tony Evers.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers was deadlocked in a race for reelection against Republican challenger Tim Michels. During the campaign, both candidates made jabs at each other, showing clearly how they differ on most policies and issues.
After the August primary that won him his party’s ticket, Michels changed his stance on abortion, saying during a debate he would support an abortion ban that included exceptions for pregnancies that were a result of rape or incest. Meanwhile, Evers said he supported codifying Roe v. Wade and maintained Michels’ stance was “radical,” and said he believed “women should have the ability to make decisions about their health care.”
Michels attacked Evers for his “disastrous record,” and tied him to President Joe Biden, whose approval ratings have been on the downturn for months following a slight spike when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Michels pointed to inflation and spiking crime as key issues where Evers and other Democrats were failing.
During a debate, when asked about how each candidate would address the labor shortage that has permeated industries across the country, Michels said, “We created an entire class of lazy people during COVID,” and said it was time to “stop just sending them the unemployment checks.” Evers pointed to low unemployment rates in the state as his counterargument.
Evers, a former teacher and school administrator, made education part of his platform, releasing a plan to increase public school funding by $2 billion in the state. Michels, by contrast, plans to expand tax-payer-funded private school vouchers to all students statewide. Evers said during the debate that Michels’ plan would decrease funding to public schools by 40% and called it a “radical move” that a majority of Wisconsin voters opposed.
The candidates were in a dead heat in polls for months; just weeks before the election, there was only a percentage point or two difference between them. One factor that played into the race was Evers’ handling of the 2020 protests in Kenosha and the rest of the state following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers.
Wisconsin is one of 36 states electing their top executive officials during the 2022 midterm elections. Before the election, there were 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.