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Image: Rebecca Kleefisch
Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch speaks to guests during a campaign stop on Aug. 7, 2022 in Delafield, Wis.Scott Olson / Getty Images

Midterm elections roundup: Trump vs. Walker

The two top candidates in Tuesday's Wisconsin gubernatorial primary are the Trump-backed Tim Michels and Rebecca Kleefisch, backed by former Gov. Scott Walker.

By and

The GOP primary for governor in Wisconsin is one of the top races to watch today. It’s become a proxy war of sorts between Trump, who has backed businessman Tim Michels, and former Gov. Scott Walker, who has former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. 

Walker represents the state GOP’s old guard, veteran of the political wars he fought alongside Kleefisch. Kleefisch is running as a “proven conservative,” a callback to those days. But in Michels, that establishment is being challenged by a self-funding businessman backed by Trump.

Walker, for his part, said casting the race as a battle over the future over the GOP was “a little overblown.”

“Yeah Donald Trump helps, but so do tens of millions of dollars,” Walker told NBC News’ Shaquille Brewster, referencing the money Michels has poured into his own campaign. He went on to note Kleefisch’s other conservative backers, including former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Walker is still well-regarded among Republicans in the state, despite his 2018 loss to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, for helping build the state party and enact conservative policies. 

Asked if Walker viewed the race as tied to his legacy, he told Brewster why he was supporting Kleefisch. 

“If you’re competent, I’m going to be loyal, whether it’s in a personal relationship, or in terms of someone who worked with me. I saw firsthand what [role] Rebecca played,” Walker said, noting he can “personally vouch” for her support for conservative reforms. 

“It just makes a lot of sense I’d be connected,” he said. 

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Missouri Senate: Missouri Stands United, an outside group backed by former GOP Sen. Jack Danforth that’s supporting independent Senate candidate John Wood, is hitting the airwaves with a $434,000 TV buy starting Tuesday, per AdImpact.

Wisconsin Senate: NBC News’ Natasha Korecki reports on new TV and digital ads that Democrats are rolling out against Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. 

Michigan Governor: Republican Tudor Dixon is launching gender-based attacks in her race against Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the first contest for governor in the state that features two women nominees, NBC News’ Henry Gomez reports.

Kansas Governor: Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly placed her first major ad buy of the general election, spending $118,000 on ads starting Tuesday, per AdImpact. 

Pennsylvania Governor: Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano is appearing virtually in front of the Jan. 6 committee Tuesday 

New York-10: New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who ran for governor earlier this year, is backing state Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou’s congressional bid.  

New York-17: Democratic Majority for Israel, the outside group that’s spent millions to boost Democrats against more progressive challengers, is backing Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s re-election, per Jewish Insider. He’s facing a primary challenger from state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi.  

Washington-03: GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is now trailing her Trump-backed primary challenger Joe Kent by 960 votes, per NBC News’ Decision Desk. The race has not yet been called. Roughly 10,000 voters have not yet been counted in the district’s largest county, with another update expected Tuesday afternoon, per the Associated Press.