A few weeks ago, I wrote a column expressing my thoughts on why Republicans keep losing state-wide elections in Wisconsin. Strictly focusing entirely on candidates is failing to get to the root of the problem. It turns out that many people agreed with my analysis, as that was one of my most successful columns to date.
I was so hoping that column would have been my last on the 2022 election, but alas, it is not. We are now seven months past the November 2022 elections, and people are still refusing to move on.
Last week, a complaint was filed with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission by my former colleague Bob Dohnal, of the Wisconsin Conservative Digest. In the complaint Dohnal ALLEGED, WITHOUT EVIDENCE, that Tim Michels and some of his campaign staff offered to pay him $100k for doing rallies, etc.
Talk about burning a bridge.
I was hoping to say out of the fray, but unfortunately, I am compelled to talk about it. Due to my former affiliation with the Digest, some people have asked me if I was involved with the complaint. I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT INVOLVED!
Many of you know, I had been backing away from the Digest long before this. Differences of opinion and how he treated people in his circle continued to strain our relationship. I went off on my own and on May 7, 2022, I launched News Undone, so I can continue to be a voice without getting drowned out by useless nonsense. Though I did continue to help with some minimal computer work and spoke at the Chicken Burn in August.
It is well known that anyone who dares to disagree publically with Dohnal will suffer the wrath of hundreds of emails to hundreds of people saying how ‘awful’ you are. With this BASELESS ETHICS COMPLAINT, he’s finally gone well beyond the realm of email rants and has gone head-on into the twilight zone; something needs to be said.
I cannot express my disappointment with this BASELESS claim and the character attacks on Tim Michels and his campaign staffers. Simply put, I DO NOT SUPPORT IT AT ALL; the complaint is wrong and blatantly false. As Dan O’Donnell of WISN said on his radio show last week, Dohnal had proven NOTHING and now needs to drop this utter nonsense.
This vendetta baffles me because the complaint says he only did events because of this ALLEGED financial promise by Michels and his people. Really?
He’s been doing events for decades without the help of any candidates; what made 2022 any different? Is it safe to assume he’s not done any events since November? Of course not; it’s what he does. In fact, he has continued to do events since and even has one coming up on May 13th. As Ross Perot is famous for saying, ‘this dog don’t hunt.’
As most everyone else was busy trying to regroup after the painful loss in November, Dohnal has been sending hundreds of emails incessantly bashing Tim Michels and others on his campaign for not paying the ALLEGED $100k and not running the campaign as he dictated.
After all, Dohnal has such a ‘stellar track record’ of winning elections, at least according to him. ANd let’s be realistic, another rally at Clifford’s, in front of the same 250 choir members, would not have helped Michels win the election, especially at that price tag.
Consider this logically for a moment; any verbal agreement is beyond doubtful. Tim Michels has been successful in business by being shrewd. NOBODY, with his experience, would enter into a ‘verbal’ agreement for that type of money, NOBODY. It would have been in writing.
Because of this idiotic filing, the courts will be tasked with sorting through this mess. I suspect that Dohnal will be dealt a major embarrassment. Unfortunately, this nonsense will also embarrass the Conservative cause in Wisconsin because of the bad publicity.
But wait! There’s more!
Dohnal has incessantly ranted that Michels ran ‘the worst campaign in Wisconsin history.’ Wait, what? The Worst campaign in Wisconsin history? NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!
It’s imperative to focus on Dohnal’s point of how ‘awful’ the Michels campaign was because I’ve heard other Michels haters say similar things. When they aren’t busy trying to ‘purge’ any Michels people from campaigns and leadership positions, these haters still bash him for daring to get in the race in the first place. And they never seem to Back Dohnal up on his email rants; not a peep. But that’s a different story.
It’s time for me to set the record straight…YET AGAIN. I know this will ruffle the feathers of those who refuse to let 2022 go, but facts are facts.
I got to know several people who worked on the Michels campaign, and they are good, talented, hardworking people. Tim Michels busted his butt as a candidate and selflessly gave his time, talents, and treasure to run. Besides, he has been a champion of Conservative causes in Wisconsin for a long time and will continue to do so. He should be thanked, not slandered and bashed.
Clearly, Tim and the campaign were not perfect, but they fought hard. I have written several columns about it; no need to go into detail here. In reality, you can ALWAYS do more and do things better in a political campaign, but this is not the purpose of this column.
Instead, let’s make it really easy and just focus on election results, shall we?
Below are the results of several Governor, Senate, and Supreme Court elections since 2006, where the Republican/Conservative lost. Look closely at the numbers:
This shows an average Republican/Conservative loss of 7.9% and 144,493 votes.
We see here that the Michels Campaign OUTPERFORMED ALL the other candidates who were challengers to incumbents. He got closer, even after having the impact of Trump, Roe v Wade, and a large contingent of ‘never-Michels Republicans’ (including candidates) nefariously working against Michels behind the scenes. This speaks volumes!
Only Scott Walker had better results in his 2018 loss, due to his incumbency. In fact, Tim Michels even did better than Dohnal’s good friend, Tommy Thompson’s 2012 Senate run, where Tommy lost by 5.6% and 166k votes. So, Bob Dohnal needs to spare us all his righteous indignation.
I am not talking about the numbers to brag; after all, Michels did lose. I am also not trying to demean the other candidates. I am simply proving that the Tim Michels campaign was NOT the worst in Wisconsin history and got better results than most. The numbers prove it.
Of course, a loss is a loss, and we all wish Evers was no longer Governor. Unfortunately, it was not in the cards. Regardless, isn’t it long past time to move past these hyperbolic rants?
It’s ok to disagree on policy approaches, style, and campaign tactics, but this UNSUBSTANTIATED complaint is downright irresponsible. We have nothing to gain from this boondoggle because of a bruised ego and incessant narcissism. Let’s move on.
Now back to the Complaint in front of the Ethics Commission. Dan O’Donnell spelled out how baseless it is better than I ever could. He is an attorney by trade, so he understands the ins and outs of legalese. Take a listen below. It’s Brilliant!
Also, I want to share an email from a Dohnal follower that was forwarded to me. I was personally included in the email thread since I am no longer on Dohnal’s ‘cool guys list.’
Many are privately talking about how insanely stupid this all is, but are fearful of the ‘Dohnal Email Wrath.’ Still, this one person showed courage, removed all stops, and did an eloquent job of neutralizing ALL of Dohnal’s rants against Michels in one shot. It was just TOO GOOD not to share.
The writer also reiterates some of what I stated above. The text was copied and pasted, so I am not responsible for Typeos. I decided to remove the names and the long list of private email addresses that were copied for privacy reasons:
Date: Friday, May 5, 2023 at 11:59 AM
Subject: RE: Tim Michels Campaign 2022
Bob, I learnd a lot from you over the years. In 2021 you convinced me that Becky wasn’t the right choice for Wisconsin governer. You were right. In 2022 you convinced me Kevin WAS the right guy. You were We needed an Outsider and we ddint’ need high paid consultants..
While we have agreed on much in the past 6 years of you criticizing the Walker Machine, RJ, and the Consultants – I have to disagree with you on your latest toxic fight.
Congratulations to Dan ODonnell today. He deserves the ‘ron johnson trophy of courage today’. He’s the first wisgop leader to publicly call for bob donahl to shut up “I am calling on Bob Donahl to withdrew his complaint againt tim michels”. and stop this party infighting. buy that man a beer (not a bud lite). Dan is right, for those that did not hear him on the air yesterday and today. He questions Bob’s mental recollection. I feel bad since Bob become a widower and Jean died, but 82 year old Bob just doesn’t have the mental capacity to debate anymore. He belongs in a home with Joe Biden.
Now that Dan cracked the holy seal that it is not permissible to speak the truth to bob dohnahl, I am going to do so myself. I hope others follow by Fact Checking Bob’s lies. As they have gone on repeated the past 6 months, our Party has suffered. Here are some thigns to consider bob.
1. BAD FORM. You are airing gop dirty laundry in the public in front of liberal journalists like Dan Bice. Brilliatnt Bob. Brilliant. The Dems don’t due this to each other. And the Dems win. i’m glad Dan ODonnell publicy called you to stop this. i hope Belling and the rest do the same. I don’t think Dan Bice will do that Bob.
2. BOB the GREEEDY PIGGIE: You are the greediest piggie at the trough. You blamed consultants for years (RJ and the Walker gang). Now you want to be the highest paid consultant in 2022? $100k. michaels campaign was 5 months. That’s $20,000 per month you asked for. Not a bad gig Bob. So much for being in it for the right reasons. It looks like flat out extortion. I’m on all your lgenthy email rants. Some are good. Some are too long. But I searched ‘100,000’ and see you use that number a lot. I found at least 36 emails topics in my emails from you where “100,000” gets stuck in your brain
a. Dohnal emails from 2016-2017: ‘100,000 is how many jobs the Left chased away”
b. 2018-2019: “we can reach 100,000 people with facebook ads” was the theme in many of these emails
c. 2020: “there are 100,000 overdose deaths” and your rants on drugs repeated mention 100,000
d. 2021: “Left found a way to get 100,000 more votes” – not sure what that refers to, but say number
e. 2021: “Jean and I gave over $100,000 to education…”. For that we are all thankful.
f. More 2021: “we will email 100000 people” repeatedly
g. 2022: the Fri Nov 4,2022 is the first time I was on a thread about $100,000 and the
michaels campaign. 4 days before the election it looks like you copied the world asking for “$100,000”. that was the first email that had a dollar sign on the 100,000 on teh mass blast you send.
maybe your brain wanted the 100,000 more thatn the truh. As you ssaid and admitted yesterday “my brain is getting foggy”. Is it possible no one promised you 100,000 but you wanted 100,000?
3. WRONG FACTS “Michaels blew 69 million”.”He got outspent 7 to 1″
Bob, Michels put in $25M of his own money. The Dems outspent him as they can Print money. Same thing happened to Dan Kelly. maybe you are thinking of a differnet campaign (Gov Knowles?) that got outspent 7 to 1?
Hey, I was a Kevin supporter in the Primary. But I was there the day after the Primary to beat Evers. I know Becky would not have had $25M from her and her lobbyist husband to put in the race. Maybe thank the guy. He lost, but so have Mark Green, Eric Toney, Paul Bucher, Tommy Thompson, Paul Ryan.
Google it. Pretty easy fact to dispute. I’m not sure where you get the $69M. again, is your brain foggy and you are focused something else? $164.3M spent – more for the Dems, some gop dark money and then Tim’s $30M+ from his campaign.
4. Lie: “Tim never thanks me”. (first off, how self centered)
Twitter is the way candidates say thank you these days to someone publicly- not the glossy 8×11” that Governor Knowles sent you in 1962.
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Bob, you retweeted his tweet thanking you. Such a short memory you have. Here it is for those following along at home.
also he thanks you for the Chicken Burn and some education tour. go online. use google. multiple times he thanks you bob.
another Lie Bob has started: Tim was dark on TV/Radio for 7 weeks. i see this one in my email box every day.
Where you living under a Rock during the 2022 election? Do you not own a TV? Or were you thinking of the Dan Kelly campaign that was off the air for 7 weeks? The 2022 was the most expensive race in America. google it. No other gop governor campaign had more tv ads. I got so tired of seeing the Red Truck on TV for 5 months. Did you not turn on TV, YouTUBE, or the Radio? I still have ptsd with some of the ads etched into my memory of tim walking in the milwaukee ghetto talking about tough on crime. How can you say he was dark for 7 weeks? My mailbox would fill up with his fliers, so would my cellphone inbox and emai;s. I couldn’t watch a packer game without his ads being on tv.
6. Lies you say everyday: tim didn’t have grassroots. Bob, you should have went to some of his events. Here’s the one I drove down to see Reince Priebus. Hundreds of people at a bar. Jay weber talked about tehse bar events a lot. Hundreds of people showing up.
7. Lie you keep repeating: Tim didn’t go to Dane county.
(This came to me from volunteers connected to the campaign when i asked them after the loss why they didnt go to Madison):
Look at the Michels Twitter page that is still on the internet.
It lists at least 1 day each week in Madison. There are many public events republican events, business meetings, and bar rallys. Google reveals other visits. Wispolitics.com says Micheals as a special guest on several events at the Madison Club. A meet-and-greet and fundraising invites appear with Dane County heavyweights Eric Hovde, Terrance Wall, Tommy Thompson and another WMC-hosted forum with hundreds of invitees. Multiple day-time visits, weekend visits and Party events show Michels was in Madison at least 1-2 times each week in the general election according to the internet.
There are other things Bob you have exaggerated. I hope others feel compelled to fact check you so you don’t keep getting way with destroying our party from the insider by creating disunity.
Tim took full responsibility for his loss on the Dan ODOnnell show 2 weeks after the November election. It is still on Jay’s website now. You can google jay weber tim Michels.
He’s not making any excuses. The time for blame casting is done. Tim worked hard. He spent $25M of his own money. Bob donahl needs to learn from the race and stop blaming the past candidates. Tim lost by 3. Dan Kelly lost by 10+ (two times). Leah lost by 11%. Mark Green lost by 8%. They are not bad people.. You keep saying tim was the worst campaign in history. Ugh, there are many worse examples.
now like you say, let’s unite, so we can win teh next one.
i am also putting tim on this email since you dont have the courage or ability to call him out to his own email.