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March 19, 2024 News

Chairman Whatley shares Wisconsin strategy

As the new faces at the helm of the Republican National Committee settle into their roles, we are now getting a better idea of what the changes could mean for Wisconsin when it comes to strategy.

Earlier this month, North Carolina Republican Party (NCGOP) Chair Michael Whatley, and former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara, were elected to lead the organization as the presumed nominee’s top picks were put in place to shape strategy going forward.

New faces, new changes?

Whatley, who is only about one week into his new role, said the biggest changes to come have to do with having a presumptive nominee so early despite what started as a crowded primary field.

“Party unity is absolutely fantastic,” Whatley said. “President Trump has done an absolutely great job, winning all of the first four states, winning Super Tuesday, clinching the presumptive nominee status as early as it could be done. In fact, it's actually the fastest that anybody has clinched [the] presumptive status of a non-incumbent, so we're pretty excited about where he is, and the party is definitely coming together behind him. It's great because this is a movement that is going to help us all up and down the ballot all across the country.”

Getting on the same page about strategy

Election integrity will undoubtedly continue to be a big talking point for the Trump campaign, and the national party already has plans in motion.

As the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW) puts its energy into recruiting poll workers and encouraging early voting, something many Republicans have traditionally been reluctant to do, some may wonder how well that strategy will mesh with national efforts.

“There [are] really two key components to election integrity that we're working on right now all across the country, and that is making sure that we have laws, rules, and regulations in place, and then also making sure that we're recruiting and training attorneys and volunteers to serve as those observers,” Whatley responded when asked about organization efforts at different levels of the party. “What we want to do is make sure that we have people in place when votes are being cast, and when they're being counted.”

It's also no surprise that a lot of the party’s resources will be spent on the Badger State, with it being among just a handful of battleground states.

“This is one of the most important states in the entire country, so the resources that we're going to need to spend, we're absolutely going to be spending up here,” Whatley explained. “Certainly, you will have President Trump up here a lot. You will have a lot of different surrogates that are going to be here, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to two things: we need to get out the vote [and] we need to protect the ballot.”

To carry out the party’s vision, Whatley will work alongside Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara, who will serve as co-chair. When it comes to dividing up duties, Whatley said he isn’t concerned.

“The nice thing about Lara is that we can really put her into almost any area, and she's going to do fantastic,” Whatley added. “She's clearly very good on air. She's very good with fundraising. She's very good with our grassroots, so it's a wonderful team that we have been able to start putting together, and she is going to be a critical, critical asset for us.”

“We want to bring the world to Milwaukee.”

With a little less than four months until Republicans bring their national nominating convention to Wisconsin, Whatley said the biggest focus will be on showing why the state is such a critical piece to the party’s plan for the election cycle.

“We want to make sure that this convention, here in Milwaukee, is going to be a showcase for the Republican Party. It’s going to be a showcase for our nominee, and really we want to bring the world to Milwaukee,” Whatley said.

That showcase will try to bring as many people as possible under the so-called “big tent,” as the party tries to appeal to as many voters as possible. Despite recent comments by Trump that caused controversy over the weekend, Whatley said he knows Wisconsin is a battleground state for a reason, and votes will have to be earned.

“You will not win with only Republican voters,” Whatley stated. “You have to bring in undecideds, you have to bring in Independents, you have to bring in unaffiliated voters across the country, and even to get Democrat voters who are going to cross over. So, your message really has to resonate with all of those. And, at the end of the day, every family, whether they are in an urban setting, a suburban setting, or a rural setting, the focus is on the same things—like jobs and the economy, like education, like safety. These are issues that resonate, and Republican candidates, including President Trump, are listening to those voters, and they are putting solutions on the table.”