Sen. Spencer Coggs said Republicans who once had a controlling number of senators in the 33-member Wisconsin Senate until last week, held up his bill in committee to “out” fraudulent candidates.
“The Republicans knew my legislation would work against them in their attempt to run fake Democrats in recall elections. That’s why they refused to give it a public hearing and refused to give it a vote, thus preventing the legislation from becoming law,” Sen. Coggs said.
Sen. Coggs’ legislation, Senate Bill 340 (SB 340) would require candidates in all elections to declare that he or she adheres to the principles of the party under which the signer’s name would appear on the ballot. The language would be included in the Declaration of Candidacy form that all state candidates are required to file.
In Wisconsin ’s Senate recalls last year, Republicans ran six candidates as Democrats, which forced Democratic primaries in those recall elections targeting incumbent Republican senators. The fraudulent candidates ran to provide the Republicans more time to organize and raise campaign money.
This year, four Republican senators have been targeted for recalls. Last week, one of those incumbent Republicans, Sen. Pam Galloway, suddenly resigned citing family health problems. That leaves the state Senate with 16 Republicans and 16 Democrats until the recall elections of the three remaining Republican senators are held May 8th and if a primary is necessary, June 5th.
“Unfortunately, the Republicans ran the clock out on my bill when the Legislature’s two-year session expired last week,” Sen. Coggs said. When the legislative session ends, all bills die that are still in committees. The ability to revive such bills in a special session of the Legislature with a 16-16 split in the Senate is very remote.
“My concern is that Republicans will once again resort to this abuse of democracy by getting Republicans to run fraudulent candidates as Democrats in the upcoming recall elections.” Sen. Coggs stated that candidates have until April 10th to file to run in the Senate recall elections so the potential exists for Republicans to again run fraudulent candidates.
“In addition to this being an abuse of our elected process, it’s a total waste of taxpayers’ money. In the Senate recall elections last year, Republicans ran fake candidates that made additional primary elections necessary, needlessly costing taxpayers $400,000. That constitutes a fraudulent use of the election system and it should be stopped,” Sen. Coggs said.