GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Green Bay Packers versus Chicago Bears game wasn’t the only big event happening in Northeast Wisconsin on Sunday evening.
Over at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joined Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, U.S. Senate candidate Ron Johnson, and U.S. House of Representatives candidate Mike Gallagher for a rally hosted by Turning Point Action.
This group empowers young people to get involved in conservative politics and support conservative candidates.
“Record high inflation, record gasoline prices, rising crime, our open border the flood of illegal immigrants and deadly drugs,” said Johnson listing off some of his criticisms with the Biden administration and Democrat policies in general. “This is 2022 in America and we don’t have enough baby formula to feed our infants. The bottom line is this fundamental transformation of America is destroying this country and they (Democrats) are doing it and they have to be stopped.”
In a statement sent to Local Five News, a spokeswoman for Mandela Barnes’ campaign said “I’m not surprised Ron Johnson is campaigning with Governor DeSantis since he spends so much time flying between DC and his Florida vacation home on the taxpayer’s dime.”
“What’s really on the ballot, has always been on the ballot since our founding, it’s a fight for freedom,” said Johnson. “It’s not somebody else’s fight, this is our fight.”
Scott Nehls was one of the people who attended the rally. He said he grew up with Tim Michels, worked for Michels Corporation, and was extremely excited when Michels announced he would run for governor.
“Very hardworking, truthful, up front, but the man will do the job right,” said Nehls.
Governor DeSantis spent the majority of his speech highlighting what he sees as some of his accomplishments while in office. He also addressed a controversial decision to fly 50 Venezuelan and Columbian migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts saying “they (the migrants) hit the jackpot to be able to be in the wealthiest sanctuary jurisdiction in the world.”
DeSantis didn’t tell Martha’s Vineyard officials that the migrants were coming creating a scramble to try to help them once they arrived.
The audience applauded throughout his speech and gave him several standing ovations.
“You have a real opportunity here, you have a really good Republican legislature you have Tim as governor and you’ll be able to do the things we do in Florida here in Wisconsin and then some,” said DeSantis.
Dangling the idea of Wisconsin implementing the same conservative policies that Florida has been able to do if Michels gets elected was a key theme in DeSantis’s speech.
Just before DeSantis took the stage, Michels addressed the crowd. He said his three top priorities if he becomes governor are election integrity, education reform (particularly instituting school choice), and addressing crime in the state.
“We are going to win in 51 days, we’re going to beat Tony Evers and bring back proper executive leadership in Madison,” said Michels.
In his speech, Representative Mike Gallagher questioned why it’s the Republicans who get called ‘radicals’ by the Democrats and not the other way around.
“Governor DeSantis let kids go to school in person, what a radical,” said Gallagher during a part of his speech that was intentionally laced with sarcasm. “Governor DeSantis refused to force 5-year-olds to wear masks, what a radical. Governor DeSantis refused to follow (Dr. Anthony) Fauci’s every word, what a radical. Governor DeSantis’s policies were so radical that Americans are now fleeing California and New York and moving their families to Florida.”
Both Johnson and Gallagher wore Packers gear to the event and all of the speakers referenced the Packers and Bears game in their speeches.
Not everybody was happy that DeSantis and Michels were in town.
A group of protestors held signs on the side of the road as rallygoers left in their cars.
A protestor named Jill told Local Five News that she wouldn’t vote for Michels because she’s worried he’ll be supportive of pipelines through the state if he’s elected. According to the website, Michels Corporation has worked on several pipeline projects throughout the country.
She’s also concerned about other things if Michels gets elected.
“Human rights, women’s rights, we’re going back to the dark ages, the hate is very dangerous,” said Jill.
Jill said she came all the way from Milwaukee on Sunday to protest the rally.
Governor Tony Ever’s office released a statement saying:
“Wisconsinites don’t want an out-of-touch, out-of-state radical ruining their Sunday — and they don’t want Ron DeSantis here either. Tim Michels continues to show Wisconsin voters that he’s wrong for our state, and holding an event just before a Packers game with one of the most divisive politicians in the country is another red flag. Like DeSantis, Michels holds radical views on everything from abortion to public education. Michels has called the 1849 abortion ban that has no exceptions for rape or incest ‘an exact mirror of my position’ and he’s proudly standing with DeSantis, who signed legislation that doesn’t even include an exception in cases of human trafficking. These are radical and dangerous policies.”