Wisconsin Democratic Governor Wisconsin Democratic Gov.
Evers and Michels are likely to face off in a close race. This will impact education and abortion rights, and could even affect elections.
Although Friday night’s debate was civilized, the candidates showed clear differences on major issues.
Michels stated that he supports an abortion ban that excludes pregnancies caused by rape or incest. This is a change from his previous position on the matter. Michels had supported an 1849 state law prohibiting abortion in nearly all cases, up until last month when he changed his position. This was before the U.S Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Michels stated Friday that he was pro-life and made no apologies. While he said he wasn’t against contraception, he avoided answering directly to a question on whether he would try to block — or punish — Wisconsin women who seek abortion care outside of the state.
Michels stated that this topic was “something we’ll need to sit down to work out”, but added that he wasn’t going to be a “radical guy with checks at the border”.
Evers said that women should be able to make their own decisions regarding their health, including abortion. He called Michels “radical” on the issue.
Michels stated that he would provide “bold leadership and get crime down” as well as “make sure law enforcement have the funds necessary” but did not give any details. He said that he would talk to “the bad guys” on election night if he wins, and inform them that if they aren’t willing to put in the effort, then they shouldn’t commit the crime.
Evers stated that combating crime is not about “talking tough”, but “about providing resources so those officers can do their job.”
Evers reiterated his support of universal background checks and “red flag” laws to remove firearms from people deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. Michels, however, complained that the “left always wants to take away guns.”
Michels called red-flag laws “unconstitutional” a “slippery slope” and stated that he believed such laws, “without due process,” would lead to guns being “confiscated from law-abiding citizens.
Evers replied by saying that responsible gun owners don’t need to worry about red flag laws.
When asked if they believed that the 2020 election in the state was rife with fraud, the two gave starkly different answers. This is a false claim that former President Donald Trump has repeated.
Michels claimed that “illegal voting occurred in the last election”, despite there being no evidence of widespread fraud.
Evers on the other hand stated plainly that “the last election had been safe and secure, and there wasn’t a fraud.”
He stated that “people are concerned about it because we have people such as my opponent who continue talking about massive fraud, without having any idea or specifics.”
Michels repeated his claim that there was fraud in the 2020 election throughout the Republican primary race. This is in keeping with Trump’s unproven claims. Michels was not a perfect man, but he did say that he was open to efforts to decertify Biden’s win in the state. However, there is no legal mechanism under federal or state law to reverse a state’s electoral votes.
Both men agreed to accept the election results in a rare moment of the agreement Friday night.
Before the Nov. 8 election, the only debate between the candidates was the 60-minute face-off at Madison’s television studio.
Michels and Evers are locked in a close race. RealClearPolitics latest polling average shows that the race is tied at 48% support for each candidate. Marquette Law School’s latest poll released Wednesday showed Evers slightly ahead of Michels among likely voters, 47%-46% — within the error margin. According to the Cook Political Report, the race is a toss-up, which is nonpartisan.
Wisconsin, the pivotal battleground, was among the states in which Biden won his narrowest victories in 2020. He won by less than 21,000 votes. Evers defeated Republican Gov. Scott Walker and won by less than 30,000 votes.