You get the sense Kleefisch earned little respect among Walker insiders.
There's plenty of dirty laundry about Gov. Scott Walker's inner circle in unsealed documents related to a John Doe investigation. Emails from ex-Walker aide Kelly Rindfleisch are being scoured for details about the secret email system set up in Walker's office when he was Milwaukee's county executive, allowing staff to work on his 2010 campaign for governor on county time. But there are other embarrassing details, including scornful comments about Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
As a TV news anchor with no political experience, Kleefisch was an unconventional Republican candidate for lieutenant governor. She famously embarrassed herself during the campaign by comparing same-sex marriage to marrying tables, clocks or dogs.
In public, the Walker campaign embraced Kleefisch after she beat four other candidates in the 2010 Republican primary. But 2010 emails from Rindfleisch and others reflect a sneering attitude toward her in the Walker camp in the run-up to the primary.
Rindfleisch herself was illegally campaigning for Kleefisch's rival Brett Davis while working as Walker's deputy chief of staff. She pleaded guilty in 2012 and was sentenced to six months in jail.
On March 2, 2010, Rindfleisch wrote to Keith Gilkes, who was running Walker's gubernatorial campaign: "I'm REALLY beginning to dislike [Kleefisch]."
On March 16, Rindfleisch's "dislike" had turned to disgust. She wrote to a fellow campaigner for Davis: "She makes me sick."
Gilkes himself was no fan of Kleefisch. On June 30, he wrote to Rindfleisch: "We are not touching anything to do with Kleefisch -- she is radioactive and not worth the time. Brett should work on Mayor [David] Ross and turn it into a two person race to kick her ass."
On March 15, Kathleen Kiernan, who was associated with the Davis campaign, wrote: "YUK.... I cannot see how anyone can take this woman seriously."
Another woman working on Davis' campaign wrote: "tell you what, she could be a one-woman circus that's for sure!"
Throw in other put-downs from Rindfleish -- like a reference to the "Kleefisch debacle" -- and you get the sense of a woman who earned little respect among Walker insiders. That changed quickly after Kleefisch prevailed in the primary.
"We are excited to have her on the ticket," Walker spokeswoman Jill Bader said at the time. "We think she will help us."