Some background first.
This past summer we had unnecessary primary elections in our State Senate recalls due to "fake Democrats" putting their names up for election as Democrats which artificially created the need for primary elections. The reason for this was clear: it took resources from the real Democrat (campaign money and volunteers) to ensure that the real Democrat won the primary and extended the election to enable the recalled Republican had more time to fundraise and campaign as well as more time for the avalanche of outside attack ads to demonize their opponents.
End of background.
It's happening again in all of our State Senate recalls this year and Republicans are bragging about it:
"There's nothing to keep the Republicans from messing around," (State Senator Scott)Fitzgerald said.Information in parenthesis and italics is my addition for clarification.
Republican sleazebag Scott Fitzgerald has one more parting shot:
"If you put all your eggs in the recall basket, you're not going to have the resources for November," Fitzgerald said. "I'm hopeful that is what the Democrats have done."Gladys Huber, who ran as a fake Democrat in the recall against State Senator Alberta Darling, plans to run as a fake Democrat in the recall against Scott Walker which already has 4 Democrats in a primary election.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is fighting back against this sleazy tactic.
Along with legitimate opponents to Gov. Scott Walker and other GOP officials facing recall are Republicans who are running as Democrats. The state Republican Party launched the plan to ensure there are primaries in all races, which would make all general elections on June 5.The matter has been sent to the overseer of elections, the Government Accountability Board.
That amounts to election fraud, said Jeremy Levinson, an attorney who has represented the state Democratic Party and the labor group We Are Wisconsin. He said he would file a formal challenge Wednesday to boot the fake candidates off the ballot.
"They should be denied placement on the ballot because all their campaign filings are fraudulent," Levinson said. "This is a fraudulent scheme to reschedule some of the elections."
The move by Levinson comes as other Democrats push back against the effort to run the protest candidates. The liberal group One Wisconsin Now has asked the accountability board, as well as several district attorneys, to investigate whether the Republicans running as Democrats committed felonies by filing sworn affidavits that they would "represent" the Democratic Party.Of course, the GOP is chiming in to defend the tactic.
Ben Sparks, a spokesman for the Republican Party, said he was confident the board would approve putting the fake Democrats' names on the ballot.Election fairness? I don't think so. If anything, it's incredibly unfair to put up a trojan horse candidate to force a primary to happen. And, of course, the GOP has been whining extensively about the costs of the recalls, but are doing their part to add to those very costs themselves.
"Their candidacy will ensure election fairness going forward and guarantee there is one primary and general election date for all candidates," he said in a statement.
Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said this week running under one party's banner while belonging to another did not violate election law.Even the conservative Wisconsin State Journal is headlining this story.
Undaunted by claims that running as a fake Democratic candidate in the recalls constitutes criminal election fraud, six such candidates filed paperwork Tuesday to run in the May 8 primary.Republicans are now referring to them as "protest candidates" rather than Fake Democrats. Obviously, they feel that somehow makes them less illegitimate than they really are.
The state Republican Party candidates include Gary Ellerman, Tamara Varebrook, James Engel and James Buckley, who filed to run as Democrats in the recalls targeting Republican state Sens. Scott Fitzgerald, Van Wanggaard, Terry Moulton and Pam Galloway, who retired amid the recall effort.
In addition, GOP candidates Gladys Huber and Isaac Weix filed to run as Democrats in the effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
Friday is the deadline to file challenges of candidates with the GAB, said board spokesman Reid Magney. If challenges are received, the board will meet early next week to determine if a candidate's name will appear on the primary ballot.We can only hope the GAB will rule against these candidates, but I'm not holding my breath. The GAB has gone far out of their way to avoid any decisions that irritate the Republican Party.
That is separate from any criminal liability, Magney said.
Mike Browne, One Wisconsin Now deputy director, said his group will not file challenges to keep fake Democrats off the ballots.emphasis mine
"Our concern in this has been not whether someone is running for public office, but whether someone who is running for public office has misled the public," Browne said.
On their Declaration of Candidacy form, the fake Democrats made a sworn declaration that they were representing the Democratic Party, said Browne, who maintains they did exactly the opposite in working to benefit the Republican Party.
Under Wisconsin statutes, falsifying information in a Declaration of Candidacy is a felony.
Last year the sleazy tactic of using fake Democrats to force a primary and delay the recall election caught everyone by surprise. This year, not so much.
Last year, the Fake Dems didn't raise funds or campaign, but the primary their candidacy forced caused the real Democrats to use human and financial resources which limited funds available for the recall election itself.
We can only hope the GAB does the right thing.
UPDATE: MORE! Not good news, however.
Federal judges Wednesday redrew the lines of two South Side legislative districts in favor of Democrats and an immigrant rights group.
In doing so, the panel of three federal judges rejected arguments by the state on behalf of the maps drawn by Republican lawmakers last year. Last month the panel ruled that the maps for Assembly Districts 8 and 9 violated the voting rights of Latinos.The kept the remainder of the secretly drawn, Republican-friendly map intact.
The judicial panel also rejected on Wednesday a request by the City of Milwaukee to fix technical errors with the maps that had created a five-person ward and a one-person ward in neighboring Assembly District 7. The court said those errors would need to be addressed either with the state elections agency, the Government Accountability Board, or in a separate court action.While they loudly criticized the GOP for their actions, they gave them no consequences. Like letting a bank robber keep the loot after he's been caught and not sending him to the gray bar hotel.
In its earlier ruling the court largely upheld the maps that Republican lawmakers had drawn, though the court criticized lawmakers for the secretive process they used to draw them, saying it was not in keeping with Wisconsin's history of open government.