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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is reelected, preserving Democratic power in swing state

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers chats with people while taking a time to celebrate his birthday with staff, supporters and friends at one of his high school hangouts, Dino's Pizza and Subs, on November 5, 2022 in Plymouth, Wis.
Scott Olson
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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers chats with people while taking a time to celebrate his birthday with staff, supporters and friends at one of his high school hangouts, Dino's Pizza and Subs, on November 5, 2022 in Plymouth, Wis.

Follow live updates and election results here.

MADISON, Wis. — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers won reelection to a second term, beating back an effort by Republicans to recapture all branches of government in the perennial swing state.

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According to a race call by The Associated Press, Evers defeated Republican challenger Tim Michels, a construction executive who emerged from a contentious GOP primary after an endorsement by former President Donald Trump.

Evers was helped in the closing days of the campaign by a visit from former President Barack Obama, who also recorded a TV ad on the governor's behalf. While President Joe Biden visited Wisconsin in September, he stayed away from the state in the closing months of the campaign. So, too, did Trump.

Evers' campaign also relentlessly attacked Michels over his long support for banning abortion without exceptions for rape or incest.

For Evers, a former teacher who previously served as Wisconsin's state superintendent of public instruction, the victory comes four years after he narrowly defeated former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Under Walker, Republicans reshaped Wisconsin government, rolling back public and private sector union rights in a state with a long progressive history.

Evers spent his first term in office at odds with a Republican-dominated Legislature on everything from COVID-19 policy to election laws. That's likely to happen again after Republicans redrew the state's political maps to give themselves an even bigger advantage in races for the state Senate and Assembly.

Evers' victory is significant not so much for what it will let Democrats accomplish but for what it will let them prevent. Over the past two years, Evers vetoed 126 Republican bills, breaking the old record set roughly a century ago.

It's also a massive win for Democrats in an election cycle where they faced significant political headwinds. Typically, when one party controls both the White House and Congress, Wisconsin elections swing in the other direction. Evers' victory bucked that trend.

More Election 2022 coverage

  • Wisconsin Election Results
  • WUWM's Wisconsin Election Guide
  • WXPR's Ballot Guide
  • Election Coverage from Wisconsin Public Radio
  • Copyright 2022 Wisconsin Public Radio

    Shawn Johnson covers the State Capitol for Wisconsin Public Radio. Shawn joined the network in 2004. Prior to that he worked for WUIS-FM, a public radio station in Springfield, Illinois. There, Shawn reported on the Illinois legislature. He also managed the station's western Illinois bureau, where he produced features on issues facing rural residents. He previously worked as an Assistant Producer for WBBM-AM radio in Chicago.