By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
When Chris Abele, the current Milwaukee County Executive, announced he was no longer running for re-election, the race for Milwaukee County Executive got a lot more interesting. Candidates started announcing their bids and the race grew to include local political leaders from alderpersons to mayors and more.
But then, things took a turn.
In any political race, it’s natural for candidates to drop out, just take a look at the current list of nominees in the Democratic party running for president. A candidate may drop out for any reason, but funding, status in the polls and support typically play a role.
However, in the Milwaukee County Executive race, that wasn’t necessarily the case. Sen. Jim Sullivan and Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy were removed from the ballot, but it wasn’t by choice.
Theo Lipscomb, Sr., the chairman for the Milwaukee County Board, filed two complaints aimed at Sullivan and Kennedy. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Lipscomb found that Sullivan and Kennedy had used the same circulators to collect signatures.
Since this goes against state law, the Elections Commission had to make a decision. A candidate needs 2,000 signatures to go on the ballot. The commission had to determine how many signatures were valid and after deciding a majority of them were invalid, both Sullivan and Kennedy were removed from the race.
But the story doesn’t end there.
The decision to remove Sullivan and Kennedy from the ballot was reported back in January, but earlier this week, the Journal Sentinel released a surprising article. According to the article, which was published Tuesday, Feb. 11, Lipscomb did the exact same thing that removed Sullivan and Kennedy.
The Journal Sentinel reported that Lipscomb used three of the same circulators as Rep. David Crowley.
As Crowley used those circulators first, the signatures for Lipscomb are technically invalid. These circulators collected over three hundred signatures for Lipscomb.
Had this been noticed earlier, those signatures would have been removed. Unfortunately, for former candidates, Sullivan and Kennedy, it’s too late to challenge nomination papers, however it does demonstrate a double standard on behalf of Lipscomb.
In the article published by the Journal Sentinel, Kennedy said that Lipscomb should have come clean about his issues with collecting signatures, especially given the fact that he removed Kennedy and Sullivan for that very reason.
While Lipscomb said his nomination papers are in the clear, the fact remains that given the circumstances, Lipscomb should have paid more attention to the circulators he chose.
Voting for Milwaukee County Executive will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18. There are four candidates running: Purnima Nath, Theodore Lipscomb, Sr., Chris Larson and David Crowley. A photo ID is required.
For additional ballot information or polling locations, visit https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/.