Wis. GOP Loses Recall Candidate On Signatures — Stuck With Damaged One

June 27, 2011 1:38 pm

Wisconsin Republicans just hit a bump in the road in the state Senate recall campaigns, with one of their chosen candidates against a Democratic incumbent having just gotten knocked off the ballot — leaving another candidate who is less than ideal.

The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, knocked GOP state Rep. John Nygren off the ballot Tuesday in his effort to unseat Dem state Sen. Dave Hansen. Nygren’s campaign had initially only turned in 424 petition signatures for Nygren, just over the 400 minimum — but following Democratic challenges, this was busted down to 398, just two short of the required total.

As WisPolitics reports, Nygren is vowing to appeal the decision in court, saying in a statement: “Since Dave Hansen has chosen legal maneuvers to silence the voters of northeastern Wisconsin, I feel obligated to my supporters to fight this decision and pursue further legal options.”

However, another Republican will remain on the ballot: GOP activist David VanderLeest, whose signatures passed muster against Dem challenges. Thus, the good news for Republicans is that Hansen will not run unopposed.

But the bad news for the GOP is, VanderLeest is going to be Hansen’s opponent.As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel previously reported in May, when VanderLeest declared his candidacy (after having organized the recall effort against Hansen), he actually has an extensive court record – involving a bankruptcy, home foreclosure, an unpaid judgment of $30,000 with a bank, building code violations, and a misdemeanor conviction for disorderly conduct. (The latter conviction was part of a plea deal for a domestic dispute.)

VanderLeest has defended his record. “Nobody can beat me on the issues, so they will attack me,” he has said, also adding: “I had a marriage fall apart and I was in real estate. I’m not ashamed of that.”

Another upshot of this is that this one recall election will not require any kind of primary. Therefore, the general election will be held right away on July 19, along with two Republican primaries to go up against the other Dem senators who are facing recalls.

Meanwhile, Democrats are waging six recalls against Republican state Senators, for which primaries will be held against fake Democratic candidates on July 12, a strategy by the Republicans that will cost state and local government over $400,000. The general elections for those six seats will be held August 9.

(Hat tip to Greg Sargent.)

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