Michels Blasts Media, Defends Donations
GOP candidate for governor has supported anti-LGBT, anti-abortion, anti-contraception groups.
“The media has reached a new low in Wisconsin,” says an emailed message to supporters by the Tim Michels campaign for governor.
“The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and their affiliated USA Today Wisconsin papers attacked me and my wife Barbara for our charitable giving.”
One of the groups funded by the Michels foundation is Pro Life Wisconsin, which supports a complete ban not just on abortion, but on the most common forms of contraception and birth control.
“Of course, they did not examine if Tony Evers donated to charity at all,” the Michels campaign complained. But the story notes that Evers doesn’t have a foundation, whereas Michels does and as a tax-exempt non-profit, it must file an annual 990 federal tax statement. Charitable donations by an individual aren’t reported that way.
Michels has declared that Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban, which allows no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, is in line with his personal beliefs. “I’m pro-life because of my faith, and I will not apologize for it,” he has said. For those who might have thought this was just meant for Republican primary voters, it’s now clear that’s not the case. Michels has very strong socially conservative views.
Whereas his Republican opponent Rebecca Kleefisch declared she did not support legislation to ban access to birth control, including emergency contraception, Michels declined to explain his views. Under current Wisconsin law hospital nurses and doctors are mandated to inform victims of sexual assault of their right to emergency contraception and to provide the pills upon request. Emergency contraception or “morning after pills” are legal and can halt ovulation, block fertilization, or prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus.
Michels also opposes same-sex marriage, as the AP reported in June. “My position that is that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Michels said. He backed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage when he ran for U.S. Senator against Democrat Russ Feingold in 2004.
These are not views supported by most voters in Wisconsin. According to the Marquette Law School polls, 53% of people in the state support same sex marriage and 60% oppose the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, while an overwhelming majority, including 79% of Republicans, support an exception to any abortion ban for women who are pregnant as the result of rape or incest. As for emergency contraception, it does not appear that state respondents were polled, but nationally 70% of people oppose a ban on it, including 62% of Republicans.
Back in 2019, the revelation that state Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn founded and oversaw a private religious school that prohibits teachers, students and parents from being in gay relationships did not prevent him from winning election. In fact, some believe it helped propel him to victory in the April 2019 election by driving a higher turnout of conservative Republican voters, who were angry about media coverage of his views.
Beyond all the hubbub, one thing is clear: the difference between the views of Michels and incumbent Democratic Gov. Evers has become much starker.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits.