On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Wisconsin voters will go to the polls on a number of state and federal candidacies, the gubernatorial race being among the most competitive.
Incumbent Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat who was narrowly elected to his position in 2018, is challenged by Republican Tim Michels, owner of Michels Corporation. This race has become the most expensive gubernatorial race in the nation in total campaign spending.
Arguably the most pivotal issue separating the two candidates is abortion in the face of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling. Evers continues to promise to fight for safe and legal abortions, while Michels generally opposes legal abortions despite changing his stance on exceptions to the state’s 1849 abortion ban.
Among other key issues that separate Evers and Michels are school funding, marijuana legalization and income tax. Michels proposed a flat income tax for Wisconsin, which would reverse the precedent of a relatively progressive income tax. This has funded social services for a significant portion of the state’s population.
Currently, Evers polls slightly ahead of Michels based on likely voters, polling at 47% over Michels’ 46% as per the Marquette poll. This disrupts the trend of Evers polling 3-4 points above Michels in recent months.
Evers and Michels will debate Friday — the only debate broadcasted throughout the entirety of this race. Both candidates gained relatively strong support in their respective political parties, despite Michels’ company facing several allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.
If Michels were to be elected, a GOP trifecta – a legislative majority in both chambers and a Republican governor – would allow Republicans to enforce strict rules on not only abortion, but also race education and gender identity and expression in schools. Evers has been the Democrats’ only method of blocking these restrictions in Wisconsin.
It’s not just abortion or election integrity on the table this November, although those issues are paramount — the future of fairness and representation in education, economic equality and marijuana legalization will be put to the test on Nov. 8.