GAB votes to allow placeholder candidates in recall election

MADISON --The Government Accountability Board voted unanimously Tuesday morning, April 17th to deny challenges to placeholder candidates in recalls. Essentially, all six placeholder candidates will be allowed on the ballot.

The GAB voted to allow the candidates to run because state law doesn't require people to prove they belong to any political party before they can run for office. "Our process is to let the public make these decisions, and it's more of a campaign issue," GAB President Kevin Kennedy said.

Democrats objected, saying the candidates falsely represented themselves and therefore filed fraudulent paperwork. Jeremy Levinson, an attorney representing the Democrats says six Republicans filed paperwork to run as Democrats. "Do not lie on your GAB paperwork. Don't lie to the voters if you want to be a candidate for public office. These folks filed under oath with the statement they represent the Democratic Party. Their nomination papers told folks walking out of Piggly Wiggly in their Senate districts, 'hey, I'm a Democratic candidate trying to outseat the Republican incumbent,'" Levinson said.

In Senate District 13, the recall race against Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Gary Ellerman, an admitted Republican is running as a Democrat against Democrat Lori Compas. "A voter asked me if the ballot would include which candidates were fake, and which candidates were real. This is truly a bizarre situation," Compas said.

An attorney for the Republican Party argues all legal candidates have a right to run. "The First Amendment of the United States Constitution does not allow (the GAB) to search behind anybody's desires or motivations as to why they seek to be on the ballots," Republican Party attorney Joe Olson said.

The recalls target Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three incumbent senators. A fourth Senate seat is open.

Republicans say the goal was to ensure there is a primary in all the races so the general election will be on the same date. The primary is May 8 and the general election is June 5.

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