Republican Wisconsin elections panel member resigns, says Trump lost
A Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission announced his resignation on Wednesday, saying he could no longer effectively serve the party because he believes former President Trump lost the 2020 election.
Dean Knudson, who previously chaired the commission after serving three terms in the state legislature, said the state party did not want him to assume the chair position because of his stance on the election results. The commission was set to consider its leadership for the next term at Wednesday’s meeting, but the group postponed the vote following Knudson’s resignation.
“I’ll put my conservative record up against anyone in the state of Wisconsin, and yet now I’ve been branded a RINO,” Knudson said, using an acronym for “Republican in name only.”
Commissioners elect officers every two years, with the chair and vice chair positions rotating between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans were poised to retake the chair position for the upcoming term, which includes this year’s midterm elections and the beginning of the 2024 presidential campaign season.
Knudson would have faced Republican Commissioner Bob Spindell, one of 10 Wisconsin Republicans who attempted to cast Electoral College votes for Trump, according to The Associated Press. President Biden won the state of Wisconsin in 2020 by about 20,000 votes.
“Elected officials, appointed officials and candidates at the highest levels in my party have refused to believe that President Trump lost,” Knudson said. “Even worse, some have peddled misinformation and perpetuated falsehoods about the 2020 election.”
Spindell and the other Trump backers were sued by a group of Wisconsin residents last week alleging that they undermined voters’ legal authority to elect the candidate of their choosing.
“Wis Elect Comm Meeting for Election of Chair postponed,” Spindell tweeted following the meeting. “Other Repub Commissioner eligible for Chair resigned & pushed w/Dems to delay election to 6/10. But Repub of WI not going to stand for any Fake Repub Chair selected by Dems. Still running for Chair of Elec Comm!”
After Knudson’s resignation announcement, the commission voted 5-1 to postpone the chair election until its June 10 meeting, allowing the Speaker of the State Assembly to appoint Knudson’s successor. Spindell was the lone opposing vote.
The Hill has reached out to the Wisconsin Republican Party for comment.
Some Republicans in the state have called for the commission to be dissolved following debates over the 2020 election results. All four Republican candidates for governor have called for the commission’s elimination after candidate Tim Michels flipped his stance on Wednesday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“This is really unfortunate, because Republicans across Wisconsin did just fine at all other levels in the 2020 election, and I expect that under our existing laws we’ll be just fine in future elections,” Knudson said.