Kelly Steele, Communications Director for “We Are Wisconsin” PAC released the following statement today regarding confirmation that Republicans will attempt to run “false” Democratic candidates in some Senate Districts, forcing a primary election – giving GOP incumbents time to prepare, communicate, and raise money:
“The unprecedented conspiracy being propagated by some combination of the Wisconsin GOP, operatives at the RNC, and individual Republicans in recall districts to hijack the election process has fundamentally changed the dynamic of the upcoming elections. Despite how innocuous their unseemly tactics might appear, placing Republican operatives purporting to be Democrats to force Democratic primaries could allow the Republicans to manipulate the process in a way that could severely disadvantage efforts to flip the Wisconsin State Senate.
This includes a number of factors, including being able to make last-minute decisions as to elections for which they’d like to move the general election to August 9th and those they’d like to keep on July 12th. (Remember, the Republicans have merely announced their intent to file fake Democrats in these elections and are collecting signatures, but they have no obligation to follow through. They could easily, for example, stand in the GAB office on June 14th and decide at 4:59pm to leave 3 races of their choosing on July 12th and move 3 races to August 9th.) Allowing them this control and ability to manipulate the calendar would severely damage the chances of taking back control of the Wisconsin State Senate.
Another potential scenario created by the Republican chicanery in the primary that could severely disadvantage Democratic candidates is that Republican incumbents who do not face primary challengers advance automatically to the general election ballot. This creates a scenario where “legitimate” Democratic challengers are exposed to unlimited spending by outside groups and pro-Republican forces, which could cause the “legitimate” Democrats in the race to lose the sham primary. There would be no check on millions of dollars in shady outside money coming in to relentlessly attack “legitimate” Democrats, and full-scale mobilization of Republican resources to turn out their voters in the Democratic primary and to advocate a message such as “if you support Randy Hopper, vote for fake candidate X.”
Given the situation Republicans have so despicably concocted to manipulate these recall elections, it is the opinion of We Are Wisconsin that it would be in the interest of Democrats to run candidates in the Republican primaries to ensure the dates of the general election are predictably on August 9th, and that Republicans are forced to win a primary election instead of diverting their unlimited resources to back their “fake” candidates against “legitimate” Democrats. To that end, it would be in the interest of flipping the Wisconsin Senate that interested Democrats contact the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
This opinion is not rendered lightly. This is the most cynical manipulation of the Wisconsin electoral process in our state’s history, and is being done by a Republican party that has demonstrated no respect for the rule of law and our state’s tradition of clean elections and good governance. Unfortunately, however, after evaluating the strategic implications of their despicable tactics, to simply stand idly by would amount to unilateral disarmament and would almost certainly thwart the will of the hundreds of thousands of voters who support recalling Republican Senators in the upcoming elections.
Ideally, GAB could step in and prevent the Republicans from deploying this despicable tactic. However, GAB spokesman Reid Magney said the staff doesn’t believe the Republican scheme “raises any significant legal issues.” Therefore, it our official position that Democrats have no other strategic option – that because the Republicans are hell-bent on spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on sham elections to manipulate the process, that adding an additional name to the ballot in the form of a Republican challenger constitutes the only way to level the playing field and prevent being steamrolled by their nefarious tactics. This is truly a sad day for Wisconsin’s political process.”
The anger and frustration expressed in this statement is understandable. However, when one considers the reprehensible conduct of the GOP throughout this process, this tactic they are plotting should surprise no one. It should not lead to panic; and it should not lead to advocating unethical activity(at the least), and most likely illegal activity. Wisconsin Statute 12.05 makes it illegal to falsify or mislead an electorate, and as of today there are already complaints filed and being investigated by Dane County DA Ozanne. There are also existing statutes whereby citizens can file complaints with the GAB against falsified election petitions. There are legal remedies for this conspiracy.
Moreover, let me be clear. Our message and movement depends on our ethical, moral, and just behavior. How do we invoke the trust of a cheated and betrayed electorate, to turn over governance to a progressive resurgence, if we behave no better than the GOP who stole their state for the new “Robber Barons.” Even considering this type of tactic puts our credibility at risk. It is true that desperate times call for desperate measures. But desparate does not need to cross the line to illegality and fraud. desperate is thousands of Wisconsinites standing arm in arm for their just rights – in a right and just protest, and winning elections ethically and legally.
That is how we win. That is how people know the difference between the Scott Walkers of the world, and the Fighting Bob LaFollettes of the world. The message to We Are Wisconsin – live up to your name. Live up to what We say we stand for. Retract your statement and denounce anything but free, fair, open, and legal elections.