Former owner of gas station chain gets Trump’s endorsement in Wisconsin congressional race

Apr 8, 2024, 7:26 AM | Updated: 5:30 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The former owner of a dinosaur-themed gas station chain in northeastern Wisconsin announced a run for Congress in a heavily Republican district on Monday after receiving an endorsement from former President Donald Trump over the weekend.

Tony Wied, who owned six Dino Stop gas stations and convenience stores, joined the race for the open 8th Congressional District seat caused by the surprise early retirement of Rep. Mike Gallagher. Two other Republicans and one Democrat have already announced their candidacies.

The primary is Aug. 13.

Wied attended Trump’s rally in Green Bay last week. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obtained a photograph of a document titled “Tony Wied for Congress — WI08” that included biographical information about Wied.

Trump on Sunday posted his endorsement of Wied on social media, even though he had yet to officially enter the race. Wied announced his campaign at an event Monday night in Green Bay, saying he was “humbled and honored” by the endorsement.

“After selling his highly successful Oil and Gas Business, Tony Wield has decided to run for Congress in Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, misspelling Wied’s last name.

Wied sold his Dino Stop chain to a Denver-based company in 2022.

“Look, I don’t need this job to make a living,” he told supporters. “I am doing this job to serve, to make a difference — to secure our border, to get our spending under control and to give our next president Donald J. Trump an ally he’ll need in Congress.”

Trump called on Republican Roger Roth, a former state senator from Appleton, to drop out of the race. Roth endorsed Trump when he announced his latest run for Congress, after he declined to get behind him in 2022 when asked if he would back a Trump run for president in 2024.

“Tony is running against RINO Roger Roth, who is a ‘clone’ of Paul Ryan, and no friend to MAGA — He should drop out of the Race NOW,” Trump wrote. “As your next Congressman, Tony will work hard to Unleash American Energy, Stop Inflation, Secure our Border, Support our Military / Vets, and Protect our always under siege Second Amendment.”

Roth, in a statement Monday, highlighted his service with the Wisconsin Air National Guard and recommitted to Trump.

“As the only veteran in this race, I know what it means to serve,” Roth said. “My wife and I Iook at our country, and for the sake of our children, know we have to fight to preserve and protect what makes America great. I will win this race and help win Wisconsin for Donald Trump this November.”

Roth has been racking up his own endorsements from conservatives, including former Republican Gov. Scott Walker and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

State Sen. Andre Jacque, of De Pere, is also running as a Republican. Dr. Kristin Lyerly, also from De Pere, is the only announced Democratic candidate.

Another Republican and Trump-backer, GOP consultant Alex Bruesewitz, had been considering a run. Bruesewitz said in a text message Monday that he had been planning to run until he met Wied.

“I strongly encouraged him to plan for a run,” Bruesewitz said. “I believe he is a 10/10 candidate.”

Bruesewitz said he would working as an adviser on Wied’s campaign and he was among several speakers backing Wied at Monday’s event.

Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District is solidly Republican, but Democrats have vowed to make it competitive.

Trump won the district by 16 percentage points in 2020, even though he lost the state by less than a point to President Joe Biden. Gallagher won reelection three times by no fewer than 25 points. The district includes the cities of Appleton and Green Bay, Door County and covers mostly rural areas north through Marinette.

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Former owner of gas station chain gets Trump’s endorsement in Wisconsin congressional race