MADISON – Republican candidate for governor Tim Michels sent out a campaign mailer to potential voters in recent days promoting an endorsement from the National Rifle Association that Michels does not have — an error a spokesman said was unintentional and has since been corrected.
Michels’ campaign mailer included a photo of Michels in hunting gear with a freshly harvested buck and said Michels was “standing up for our gun rights.” At the bottom of the campaign flyer, it promoted the endorsement coveted by all Republican candidates.
“There was an error in a mailer we sent out but it was unintentional and it has been immediately corrected for all future communications,” Chris Walker, adviser to the Michels campaign, said in a statement on Monday.
“As a lifetime NRA member, hunter, and staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, Tim received the highest rating possible for a non-elected official. Our direct mail shouldn’t have indicated that rating was an ‘endorsement,’ and subsequent communications will describe his ‘AQ rating’ from the NRA. Too many people and shady organizations have been lying about him and his position on issues, it’s imperative that we set the record straight.”
Scott Jones, NRA Wisconsin’s state director, said in a statement the NRA Political Victory Fund has not made any endorsements in the Republican primary for governor.
“Misrepresenting our ratings or our position in any election contest does a disservice to you and all our members, as well as other gun owners to whom protection of their liberty and firearm freedoms is a factor in how they vote,” the NRA wrote in a statement posted on their website addressed to all members.
Michels received an AQ rating from the NRA, which is the highest rating a candidate without a voting record can receive. Republican primary opponents Rebecca Kleefisch and Tim Ramthun each received a rating of A.
Kleefisch’s campaign manager Charles Nichols in a statement accused Michels of lying to voters intentionally.
“Tim Michels was caught lying to Wisconsin voters, and now he’s desperately trying to cover his tracks,” Nichols said.
In response, Walker said “the campaign made an error, admitted it, and corrected it. That’s what proper executive leaders do.”
“However, it’s a new week and the insider career politicians just can’t help themselves, taking every opportunity to play gotcha politics,” he said.