David VanderLeest, the Republican candidate in next week's Wisconsin recall election targeting Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen, is continuing to rebut stories of his legal and financial problems. Allegations about his personal finances and reports of domestic violence in his former marriage have dogged his campaign.
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"I read a social services report yesterday that says I smoke crack," said VanderLeest, during an interview on Joy Cardin of Wisconsin Public Radio. "None of it's true. I don't smoke rocks, and that's the truth."
To be clear, VanderLeest was not the GOP's preferred candidate. Instead, Republicans became stuck with VanderLeest after their originally recruited candidate, state Rep. John Nygren, failed to submit the required 400 valid petition signatures. Nygren submitted slightly over 400 signatures for himself -- despite the fact that Republicans had been able to gather 18,000 signatures to trigger a recall -- with not enough of a buffer for when a few them were disqualified. Nygren initially filed a lawsuit to get onto the ballot, but lost in court and announced he would not further appeal the decision.