Fox News can now project that Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, the Democratic incumbent, has defeated GOP challenger Tim Michels. With this win, Evers takes a second term in office.
Evers was first sworn in as the 46th Governor of Wisconsin in 2019 and sought re-elections in the midterms this fall.
Michels, a self-proclaimed “political outsider,” was the GOP candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump in the gubernatorial race.
Crime was an issue of top importance throughout the race, after Wisconsin saw 321 homicides in 2021, a 70% increase from 2019, according to data from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
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A Marquette University poll, conducted from Sept. 6-11 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points, found that 88% of Wisconsin residents are either somewhat or very concerned about crime in their state.
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“One of the reasons we have this spike is because we have weak leadership in the governor’s office right now,” Michels claimed, blaming Democrat Evers for the crime surge around the state.
Wisconsin Parole Commission data, obtained first by Wisconsin Right Now through an open records request, revealed that about 880 criminals were released early for parole between 2019 and 2021, including 274 murderers or attempted murderers.
In September, it was reported that Michels, who co-owns Wisconsin’s largest construction company Michels Corp., poured an additional $5 million of his own cash into the race, bringing his total campaign funds to around $16 million at the time. Evers reported in September raising roughly $26 million since last year.
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An October AARP survey found that Michels was leading the race against the incumbent Democrat, 50%-47%, and Fox News’ Power Rankings considered the Wisconsin race to be a toss-up.
Fox News’ Megan Myers contributed to this report.