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Wisconsin Assembly Republicans bar Rep. Janel Brandtjen from caucus meetings

Lawmaker supported primary challenge to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos

Janel Brandtjen sits behind a microphone.
Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, center, speaks as former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman presents a report to the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

One of Wisconsin’s highest-profile deniers of the 2020 election outcome has been barred from attending private meetings of Republican Assembly members.

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, is the chair of the Assembly’s elections committee. She has repeatedly attacked Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on election issues and supported a primary challenge to the Republican leader. Those efforts gained the support of former President Donald Trump, who has said Vos should have supported the legally impossible step of decertifying Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election results.

The website WisPolitics first reported that Assembly Republicans had voted to bar Brandtjen from their closed caucus meetings. In a terse letter, Rep. Rob Summerfield, who is the majority caucus chair, wrote that its members had lost trust in her due to “continual issues from the past.”

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Parties use closed caucus meetings to set political strategy. Vos has not said whether he plans to reappoint Brandtjen to lead the elections committee.

Brandtjen was one of the speakers at Trump’s Wisconsin rally ahead of the GOP gubernatorial primary, which doubled as a rally for Vos’s right-wing primary challenger, Adam Steen. Steen came within 300 votes of defeating Vos.

In a statement on Tuesday, Brandtjen denied what she called “rumors” that she had been kicked out of the Republican meeting, saying she had left voluntarily due to a family commitment. In a new statement Wednesday after the disclosure of the letter, Brandtjen called the move by her fellow Republicans “petty.”

“I will continue to … address the issues my constituents have told me are important to them, including voting integrity, with the same determination I have in the past,” she wrote.

In statements after the election, Vos said it was time for the Republican Party to move on from Trump.

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