WAUKESHA - Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman wants the man who gave him a national platform and more than $100,000 to lose his job.
Gableman, who gave an invocation at former President Donald Trump's Waukesha rally on Friday, is endorsing Assembly Speaker Robin Vos' primary opponent and has campaigned with the longshot candidate in the days before Tuesday's election.
Steen is challenging Vos primarily over Vos' refusal to decertify the results of the 2020 election, a loss that Trump has refused to acknowledge and has spent more than a year criticizing Vos for not doing more to overturn.
In a 30-second audio ad Gableman recorded on behalf of Steen, Gableman took aim at Vos.
"You know, Robin Vos never wanted a real investigation into the 2020 election in Wisconsin," Gableman said. "And everything that my office and I have been able to do to expose all the corruption that took place has been in spite of Robin and not because of him."
Gableman also is participating in a campaign event for Steen during which Vos will be flung in effigy -- a stunt that puts into action "Toss Vos," a theme of Steen's campaign that has symbolized the discontent within the GOP base over Vos' refusal to decertify the 2020 election.
Contestants will fling a doll representing Vos using a giant, homemade slingshot. Prizes will be awarded for the "top Vos-tossers," according to the event flyer.
"Adam Steen, his campaign team, and campaign volunteers, do not condone violence. The real Robin Vos will not be used in this contest, rather, we will be using a puppet representation of Robin Vos," a disclaimer on the flyer reads.
"Justice Gableman knows overturning the election is both unconstitutional and impossible. His attempts to lie to voters and gain favor with Adam Steen are sad and show how desperate he is to remain relevant," Vos said in a statement Monday.
Trump shared Gableman's endorsement of Adam Steen, a Republican who is challenging Vos in the 63rd Assembly District, at his Friday rally — an announcement that appeared to catch Gableman by surprise.
"I wasn't expecting anyone to be interested in me at all," he said after the rally as the Village People's "Macho Man" played in the background and attendees filed back to their cars.
"That was a surprise."
Gableman said he had a long day, at least six hours of which was spent at Trump's rally, and would call a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter on Saturday to discuss the endorsement. He never called.
The former Supreme Court justice's contract with the state began in July 2021 after Trump leveled heavy public criticism of Vos and other legislative leaders for not doing more to litigate his Wisconsin election loss in 2020.
Vos hired Gableman to probe the 2020 election and has continued to renew his contract even though the review has not revealed any evidence of significant fraud or new facts related to the election not previously known. Gableman was paid $11,000 per month for 10 months and has been paid $5,500 per month since May.
The probe, which has surpassed $1 million in costs, has catapulted Gableman to a national platform with election conspiracy theorists and made him a favorite of Trump, who praised Gableman's work at Friday's rally.
Steen told the Journal Sentinel he sees Gableman's endorsement as a positive development for his campaign "because he's been fighting for election integrity" since Steen joined the race.
"He's going to come out and he said we're going to knock (doors) for a couple of days here in the last three or four days of the election process," Steen said.
Steen said he is concerned Vos could end the state's contract with Gableman over the endorsement.
"I've said multiple times that I am willing to give up everything that I have for this election. And it's so important, because Justice Gableman is in the same spot, right? We understand what's at stake here. It's not just a race," Steen said. "This really is the most important race because we're looking at a fork in the road."
In a Friday statement, Vos did not directly comment on Gableman's endorsement.
“My opponent and those who endorse him continue to focus on the extreme and unconstitutional notion that we can overturn the 2020 election,” he said.
“While they focus on the impossible, I will continue to focus my campaign on the conservative principles of fighting for lower taxes, enacting real election reforms, holding criminals accountable, and giving parents more control of their kid’s education.”
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Michael Gableman endorses Robin Vos opponent Adam Steen