Pennsylvania Primary Is a Preview of ‘Big Lie’ Influence in the Wisconsin GOP Race for Governor


Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, that state's Republican nominee for governor, speaks at a primary night election gathering in Chambersburg, Pa., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

By Pat Kreitlow

May 18, 2022

Swing states face the prospect of anti-democracy governors taking charge and interfering in elections. Wisconsin candidate Tim Ramthun has hired one of the architects of the Trump campaign’s fake electors scheme.

Republican voters in Pennsylvania voted Tuesday to nominate a candidate for governor who lies about the 2020 presidential election and would likely try to overrule the will of the voters in the 2024 presidential election. It’s a once-unthinkable outcome that could soon be visited upon Wisconsin, when Republican voters elect their nominee for governor in August.

Pennsylvania’s GOP nominee, state Sen. Doug Mastriano, was among those who marched on the US Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection and has been subpoenaed by the congressional committee investigating the deadly attack on Congress as it was tallying electoral votes. He has called for decertifying the 2020 results despite no evidence of fraud.

Mastriano is far from alone, as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona also face the prospect of electing new Republican governors who would embrace autocracy and introduce explicit partisan interference in elections.

Wisconsin state Rep. Tim Ramthun—who spent a year trying to decertify President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state and is perhaps the most anti-democracy candidate in the Republican field—recently hired a fellow election conspiracy theorist to join his campaign team.  Boris Epshteyn, who is serving as a consultant on Ramthun’s campaign, was one of the architects of an elaborate plot to submit fake electors in 2020 so that then-President Donald Trump could be declared the winner despite losing. 

Epshteyn has also been subpoenaed by the US House select committee reviewing the Jan. 6 attack. He told the Washington Post in January that he was part of a team planning the slates of fake electors. 

“This was in total congruence with the overall effort to send it back to the states,” he said. The plan was to have Republican-controlled legislatures, like the one in Wisconsin, support false claims of voter fraud and declare Trump the winner of their state’s electoral votes. 

On Tuesday, two of the rightful Wisconsin electors filed suit against the 10 phony Trump electors. They and a third plaintiff called the Republicans’ move “as legally baseless as it was repugnant to democracy.” They are seeking damages and a declaration that the Republican actors can no longer serve as electors.

Ramthun , told a Racine group on April 27 that Epshteyn initiated the conversation about joining his campaign, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Earlier: ‘They Would Like Us to Quit or Die’: Elections Commission Chair Ann Jacobs Takes on Her Critics

All four of the Republican candidates for governor have now cast doubts—to varying degrees—about Biden’s Wisconsin victory, even though the 21,000-vote margin has been repeatedly reviewed, recounted, verified, and certified. As a result, Wisconsin voters will soon join their brethren in Pennsylvania in being asked if they are willing to support a candidate for governor who spreads falsehoods to undermine election integrity and would go even further by interfering with the results of the 2024 presidential election.


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.

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