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Former Trump staffer who said he ‘fanned the flame’ after 2020 loss, hired to lead Wisconsin GOP

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The director of Donald TrumpThe 2020 presidential campaign in Wisconsin, which raised allegations of widespread fraud that were ultimately debunked, has been hired to lead the Republican Party of Wisconsin ahead of the November election.

Andrew Iverson will serve as executive director of the Wisconsin Republican Party 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 served 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 served as state director of Trump Victory, a joint operation of the Trump campaign and the RNC.

It was in that role, after 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 filed suit in other battleground states and prepared to request a recount of Wisconsin’s two largest Democratic counties.

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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 will continue to fan the flames and spread messages about the Democrats trying to steal this election. We will do whatever they need (inaudible) help with. Just be on standby in case any stunts need to be performed,” Iverson said in the recording of a meeting two days after the November election, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Wisconsin played a big role in Trump’s victory in 2016, when he broke 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 lost to Biden. Wisconsin is one of the few battleground states this year that could go either way in the rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden.

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“Ultimately, this operation received more votes than any other Republican in Wisconsin history,” Iverson said in the 2020 recording. “Say what you will, our operation turned out Republican or DJT supporters. The Democrats just got 20,000 more than us, from Dane County and other areas in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Dane. There is a lot that people can learn from this campaign.”

Iverson’s comments came after Trump filed suit in other states and before he filed a case in Wisconsin seeking to overturn his loss. The Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed that case in December 2020.

“My severe assessment of each party’s performance in the 2020 election was unfortunately misinterpreted due to both poor choice of words on my part,” Iverson said in a statement Monday. He also said 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.”

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

“His broad experience and ability will prove crucial to victory in November,” Schimming said in a statement. “Wisconsin will decide the 2024 race. Andrew Iverson is the right man for the job in this crucial election.”

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

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

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