Former Trump staffer who said to 'fan the flame' after 2020 loss hired to lead Wisconsin GOP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The director of Donald Trump‘s 2020 presidential campaign in Wisconsin, who pushed allegations of widespread fraud that were ultimately debunked, has been hired to run the Republican Party of Wisconsin heading into the November election.

Andrew Iverson will serve as executive director of the Wisconsin GOP as it prepares to host the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July, the state party announced Friday. He takes over for Mark Jefferson, who left in February to serve as executive director of the Tavern League of Wisconsin.

Iverson, a graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran College, most recently worked as regional political director for the Republican National Committee. He previously worked on campaigns in Wisconsin for U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil. In 2020, Iverson was the state director for Trump Victory, a joint operation of the Trump campaign and the RNC.

It was in that role following Trump’s narrow loss in Wisconsin in 2020 that Iverson told other operatives two days after the election to support claims that Trump had actually won. His comments came as Trump’s campaign was suing in other battleground states and preparing to request a recount of the two largest Democratic counties in Wisconsin.

Biden defeated Trump by nearly 21,000 votes in Wisconsin in 2020, a result that has withstood independent and partisan audits and reviews, as well as lawsuits and the recounts Trump requested.

“Here’s the drill: Comms is going to continue to fan the flame and get the word out about Democrats trying to steal this election. We’ll do whatever they need (inaudible) help with. Just be on standby in case there’s any stunts we need to pull,” Iverson said in the recording of a meeting two days after the November election that was obtained by The Associated Press.

Wisconsin was a big part of Trump’s victory in 2016, when he smashed through the Democrats’ “Blue Wall” in the Upper Midwest, and his campaign fought hard to keep the swing state in his column four years later before his loss to Biden. Wisconsin is one of a few battleground states this year that could go either way in the rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden.

“At the end of the day, this operation received more votes than any other Republican in Wisconsin history,” Iverson said in the 2020 recording. “Say what you want, our operation turned out Republican or DJT supporters. Democrats just got 20,000 more than us, out of Dane County and other shenanigans in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Dane. There’s a lot that people can learn from this campaign.”

Iverson’s comments came after Trump sued in other states and before be brought a case in Wisconsin seeking to overturn his loss. The Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected that case in December 2020.

“My earnest assessment of each party’s performance in the 2020 election was unfortunately misconstrued due to both a poor choice of words on my part,” Iverson said in a statement Monday. He also said that his comments should be viewed in light of the fact that they “came two days after the election and before any recount had begun in Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Brian Schimming said in a statement that he was “thrilled” with the hiring of Iverson.

“His wide breadth of experience and ability will prove crucial for us winning in November,” Schimming said in a statement. “Wisconsin will decide the 2024 race. Andrew Iverson is the right man for the job in this pivotal election.”

In addition to the presidential race, Wisconsin has a high-profile U.S. Senate race pitting Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin against Republican businessman Eric Hovde.

“Wisconsin is the cornerstone of the Republican Party’s chances this November,” Iverson said in a statement. “I am eager to get to work on behalf of all of our candidates to take back the White House and usher in a new era of conservative leadership.”

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