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Intro: "The season of dirty political tricks is now officially under way. In letters obtained by No Quarter, local Republican Party officials are encouraging their GOP colleagues to collect enough signatures to get a fake Democratic candidate on the ballot in each of two upcoming recall elections."

Protesters in Wisconsin display 'Recall Them All' posters. (photo: AP)
Protesters in Wisconsin display 'Recall Them All' posters. (photo: AP)

Wisconsin GOP to Run Fake Democrats in Recall Elections

By Daniel Bice, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

08 June 11


RSN Special Coverage: GOP's War on American Labor


he season of dirty political tricks is now officially under way.

In letters obtained by No Quarter, local Republican Party officials are encouraging their GOP colleagues to collect enough signatures to get a fake Democratic candidate on the ballot in each of two upcoming recall elections.

The spoiler Democrats, who are identified by name in the letters, would run in the Democratic primaries for the seats now held by Republican Sens. Randy Hopper of Fond du Lac and Luther Olsen of Ripon.

Both of the fake Democrats have a history of giving almost exclusively to major Republicans.

"We need to make sure Democrat challengers face primaries to allow our Republicans time to mount a campaign," Dan Feyen, chairman of the 6th Congressional District Republican Party, wrote in the letter to "fellow conservatives" on Friday.

"A Democratic primary," Feyen continued, "will push the general election back by one month, so that Senator Hopper can have more time to organize a campaign against his liberal challenger."

That's verbatim what is in the other two-page letter encouraging support for the second fake Democratic candidate, except that note substitutes Olsen's name for Hopper's.

By running these fake Democrats, Republicans would force the Democratic challengers to spend money on a primary that could have been used in the general election. Plus, the spoiler candidates could launch negative attacks on the Democrats while the Republican incumbents remain above the fray.

Feyen confirmed that he sent his letter trying to get a "protest candidate" on the ballot in the Hopper race.

What's more, he said there's a good explanation for why his letter and the one written by local Republican officials in Olsen's district were virtually the same.

"It's something being coordinated by the RPW," he said, referring to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Officials with the state party could not be reached for comment.

Local GOP officials in La Crosse were also secretly recorded on May 25 discussing getting a spoiler Democratic candidate in the recall election tentatively scheduled for Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse. During that discussion, La Crosse County Republican officials mention Mark Jefferson, the former head of the state GOP , and Kapanke's campaign manager .

Kapanke's campaign has denied any involvement in the matter. Jefferson, who stepped down to take a job with the national party last week, has not commented.

In an interview Sunday, Hopper said he also had no involvement in the attempt to get a fake Democrat on the ballot in his race.

"I have absolutely zero to do with it," said the first-term Republican.

A total of nine senators - six Republicans and three Democrats - could face recall elections for their actions on Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair measure. Hopper, Olsen and Kapanke have gone to court to appeal the Government Accountability Board's ruling that their elections should be held later this summer.

The Republican senators endorsed Walker's plan, which would curb collective bargaining rights for most state workers. The Democrats fled the state in a failed attempt to block action on the measure, which is now tied up in court.

Frankly, Hopper said, he would prefer to have his election as soon as possible. He would hope that neither he nor his likely opponent, Jessica King, has a primary race.

"Let me freakin' be done," Hopper said.

Feyen said it makes sense to force a primary on the Democratic side in Hopper's district.

Hopper, he said, has been so busy voting on legislation in Madison that his Democratic opponent has been given a head start in the race.

Feyen said he had no problem running a Republican in the Democratic primary to help the incumbent.

"None whatsoever," he said.

In truth, Feyen admitted he knew very little about the spoiler candidate he's backing, John Buckstaff. Feyen said Buckstaff comes from a part of the Senate district that Feyen doesn't know very well.

Buckstaff did not return calls. State records show Buckstaff, who is retired, has a long history of giving modest amounts to Republican candidates, including Walker and Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. He even gave $575 to Hopper's campaign in 2008.

Hopper said he knows Buckstaff but wouldn't say if he considers him a Republican or a Democrat.

In Olsen's race, Sauk County Republican Party Chairman Tim McCumber and Waupaca County Republican Party Chairman Fred Zaug are encouraging conservatives in their area to gather enough signatures to get Rol Church on the ballot as a Democrat.

"Please help maintain our Republican legislative majority today!" the pair wrote. "We can't stress enough how important it is to have Rol on the ballot to combat the shady maneuvers of Madison liberals and their out-of-state allies."

The letter asks supporters to collect 800 signatures by June 13.

"Please join us in supporting Rol Church's 'protest candidacy' on the Democratic ballot by signing the enclosed nomination paper and returning it to us right away!" the pair of GOP officials wrote.

Neither Zaug nor McCumber returned calls Sunday.

Church, who is retired, made five small donations to Walker during the last gubernatorial campaign. He's also given to Van Hollen and a handful of other Republicans.

Reached Sunday, he was coy about his party affiliation.

"Stay tuned," he said. "It will all be announced soon."

He said he hadn't seen the letter from the two county GOP officials touting his Democratic candidacy.

"It's Sunday," he said seconds before hanging up. "Perhaps we'll talk again." your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+54 # Capn Canard 2011-06-08 09:53
At the risk of being redundant, the Republicans have no shame and no honor. They are despicable.
+10 # AML 2011-06-08 17:09
They don't even question why they need to implement dirty tricks to get their guy elected; no one's buying snake oil, however wrapped,
+6 # Dave W. 2011-06-09 10:08
Capn Canard, "Republicans have no shame or honor." I emphatically agree! However...would you attribute "honor" to Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bart Stupak of Michigan, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Heath Schuler of N.Carolina or any one of a pack of duplicitous "blue dogs" urinating on the carpets of Congress. We "know" the Republicans are united in their debauchery. Its the "faux Democrats", like spies in an organization that, especially now, needs absolute loyalty, that continually thwart Progressive movement forward. A bit "despicable" in itself. The President received over 800 million dollars from Wall Street thieves in his '08 campaign. McCain slightly over 600 million. Some of the very men who helped facilitate the chicanery in the land of high finance and low morals now bend the President's ear on a daily basis. How does your "no shame,no honor" analogy fit these basic facts?
+11 # jlohman 2011-06-08 10:24
Yea, maybe then the people will support IRV voting...
+3 # sark 2011-06-08 12:28
I am not sure how IRV applies to this situation.
Maybe others thinking about IRV should check out what happened with the IRV vote in NC. Also check out the other information there about IRV.
Sadly some are pushing IRV as a way to force the keeping the electronic voting machines.
+33 # DPM 2011-06-08 11:03
It is all about money and power.
I used to consider only the Republican leadership corrupt, but now I view every Republican as a money grubbing, power hungry charlatan. I hate that I feel that way, but I can't help it. They simply have absolutely no shame when it comes to getting THEIR way, regardless of the consequences. And what's worse, at least according to them, God is on THEIR side!
+14 # in deo veritas 2011-06-08 12:22
Yeah if they believe god is on their side look back when the Nazis had Gott Mit Uns "God is with us" on their belt buckles as tthey killed millions. Same class of vermin. Their god is money.
+1 # Ray Kondrasuk 2011-06-10 20:46
DPM... you speak of the GOP? Surely you must realize what it stands for: God's Own Party
+17 # mahogjones 2011-06-08 11:13
A Trojan horse only works when you don't know its full of murderous, fanatical zealots...let's deny entry of the rooks into the citadel!
+12 # AndreM5 2011-06-08 11:35
This is legal?
+19 # in deo veritas 2011-06-08 12:25
Nothing these degenerates do is really legal or moral. But we must be aware that we live in a country where what is moral is illegal and what is immoral is legal, thanks to the fascists sitting on the Supremely Corrupt Court over the past several decades- apostles to their god-money!
+14 # in deo veritas 2011-06-08 12:26
We should have realized that there are already Repugs posing as Democrats in every level of government. At the root they are all greedy shills serving Wall Street banksters and not the fools who elected them.
+4 # Saberoff 2011-06-08 12:10
Isn't it up to Democrats who their candidate is?
+13 # teachnet 2011-06-08 12:31
Voter fraud is "legal" but dancing in a national park is not?

It's illegal, immoral, unethical, fraudulent, wrong... And, it's no longer enough to complain about it, demonstrate, protest. It's time for direct action. Everywhere, not just WI.
+17 # LeeBlack 2011-06-08 12:46
It seems that Republicans live by the ethics of 'the ends justify the means. All hail the Dirty Tricks Chief - Karl Rove.
+19 # sark 2011-06-08 13:06
--Voter suppression via the Voter ID bill
--A well funded (Koch) propaganda machine
--Integrity of the elections compromised because of electronic voting machines counting the vote in secret (see below)
--and now this...

Anyone following what happened and is happening in WI knows that power and greed have overcome any small amount of ethical and moral decency the republican party may have once had. It seems that republicans care only about winning so they can force their social and biblical agenda on the people. Their corporate masters care only about their increased profits and wealth made from the labor of citizens

The WI supreme court recount brought forth many election problems that should not be ignored. The Election Integrity facebook page has graphs of all the anomalies in that election/recoun t.

Maybe this will serve to get some to wake up to the problem of election integrity before it is too late but it seem that voters are more comfortable with the belief that their votes are counted rather than facing the facts that there are major problems with how elections are conducted.

I really do think that the only way to turn things around is to take back the elections by going to hand counted paper ballots only.
+4 # wellington 2011-06-08 15:54
This news must be in police section of newspapers, it's not politics contents.
Politicians scumbags should be at side of criminal scumbags.
What about to see them in perp walk?
+1 # lin96 2011-06-09 06:45
Is this before or after they try redistricting. How are they getting away with all this redistricting? Tom Delay was redistricting in Texas and went to jail. Who is giving permission for redistricting in the states before the 2012 election? They're trying to eliminate Kucinich's seat so he's thinking about running in another state. The patients are running the asylum.
+2 # James R Young 2011-06-10 08:08
They "bought" the ability to redistrict/Gerr ymander for the next decade. The Roberts Court eliminating spending limits (AND HIDING THE SOURCES) seems to have resulted in record amounts spent for about 630 seats gained by sponsored "conservatives" in State and Federal legislatures, and Governorships. (An estimate $4.5 billion, or between $6 million and $7 million per seat changed for the power to control most of the Gerrymandering/ elections for the next decade). There were more seats than the 630 "switched" but those may prove more critical to another decade of phony job production from tax cuts, hidden $6 trillion loss in home "values" that along with financial system reforms are not going to get done (see and Robert Shiller's comments). Grossly inadequate financial reforms seem likely (as Henry Kissinger implied the Chinese view is), while it seems the "skim" by the financial and insurance industry still grows as they keep selling us junk products. Real reform is needed.

Will we have an outsized American version of the Japanese lost decade (in our case two decades if we suffer another decade as unsustainable as the last), or a real depression?

The next election will be critical at all levels, a few at the top won't make enough difference.
+4 # kalpal 2011-06-09 08:43
If Republicans don't lie, cheat or stack the deck how are they expected to win any office?
0 # BradFromSalem 2011-06-09 09:55
I would think that anyone designating themselves as a member of a political party, receive an OK from that party to use that designation.

People forget that parties are NOT leagally required as part of our political system, except by tradition. The WI Democratic Party should just refuse to participate in the Primary. Run their campaigns for the WI Senate, pointing out that the Republicans care so little for the financial stability of the state, that they have forced the state to run an uneccessary election.

Why do we even have Primaries instead of just implementing a runoff system?
+1 # Linda 2011-06-09 12:45
Actually those Republican's involved in running a Republican posing as a Dem should be brought up on charges of voter fraud because they are indeed trying to taint the voting system with fake Dems.
0 # Dave W. 2011-06-09 23:36
Linda, Read my earlier post. Are those I mention "real" Dems?

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