Updated: May 27
Dean Knudsen grew up on his family's farm in North Dakota and graduated with a degree in veterinary medicine and eventually wound up in Hudson, Wisconsin, a small town of 12,000 people on the Minnesota border, where he and his wife practiced veterinary medicine and where Dean, a Republican, was elected first to the city council and then mayor. He was then elected to the state Assembly and served 3 terms, during which times he lead the fight to abolish the state Accountability Board and replace it with a state Elections Commission. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos appointed Knudsen, a staunch conservative in a party siding rapidly into full-blown fascism, to the board and he was subsequently appointed chairman.
He was set to be re-appointed chair yesterday when he resigned from the commission altogether, denouncing the Wisconsin Republican Party for spreading Trump's lies about the 2020 election. He had the temerity to admit that Trump, who he supported, lost the election. In all likelihood one of those full-blown fascists, Bob Spindell, crackpot, election conspiracy theorist and a fake 2020 elector who may eventually wind up in prison as an insurrectionist, will get the position, having been pushed by fellow crackpot and election conspiracy theorist Senator Ron Johnson, who pressured Knudsen to resign. A Johnson spokeswoman, Alexa Henning, said that Johnson told Vos that "Dean Knudson had lost the confidence of the grassroots Republicans in representing their interests on the Wisconsin Elections Commission."
Knudsen is being denounced as a RINO by the Johnson-aligned fascist wing of the Wisconsin GOP. This is especially important because the next chair will hold the position heading into the November election and in the lead up to the 2024 presidential election and will be in position to approve (or not) the vote canvass following elections and certify results.
Pat Kreitlow wrote that Spindell "said no one understands what the commission does and many Wisconsin residents still don’t know if the commission’s decisions leading up to the 2020 election were legal. Polls indicate Republican voters’ skepticism is rooted in Trump and his allies’ efforts to spread false claims. A lot of the turmoil and political chaos in the country is rooted in that. And AP political reporter Jonathan Lemire has a book coming out in July on exactly that, The Big Lie-- Election Chaos, Political Opportunism, And The State Of American Politics After 2020.
Publisher's Weekly wrote that the book is "a trenchant analysis of the origins and impact of Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Tracing the roots of the January 6 Capitol riot to an August 2016 rally in which Trump first publicly said that he expected the upcoming presidential election to be rigged, Lemire sketches Trump’s long record of distortions about his real estate holdings, wealth, TV ratings, and sex life. Lemire also details how Trump’s promotion of the 'birther' conspiracy during the Obama presidency helped him to gain traction among Republican voters and revisits the 2019 episode in which then president Trump crudely altered a hurricane forecast map in order to justify his erroneous claim that Alabama had been in the storm’s path. Though treated as a joke at the time, Trump’s actions, coupled with the pressure government employees felt to support him, 'changed the very nature of the nation’s politics and deliberately exacerbated the mistrust many Americans already had in their government.' Throughout, Lemire forcefully calls out Trump’s Republican enablers and uncovers behind-the-scenes details about Sen. Joe Manchin’s torpedoing of the Build Back Better bill and other events. This dispatch on the state of American politics hits the bull’s-eye.