MADISON (AP) – Longshot Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brett Hulsey, and convicted felon Gary George who is running for Congress in Milwaukee, will be allowed on the Aug. 12 primary ballot along with four other incumbent state lawmakers whose nomination papers were challenged, the state elections board decided Tuesday.
The Government Accountability Board, comprised of six former judges, also allowed frequent protester Jeremy Ryan to appear on the ballot as a Republican against U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.
George, Hulsey and Jeremy Ryan are all running longshot campaigns against better-known and better-funded incumbents.
Hulsey, who has gotten headlines in recent months for bizarre behavior including promising to hand out homemade Ku Klux Klan hoods at the state Republican Party convention, is challenging Mary Burke in the primary.
He wasn’t given a speaking slot at the Democratic Party convention last weekend, but did attend and listened to Burke’s speech calling for the party to unify and defeat Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Hulsey’s signatures were challenged by Michael Basford, chairman of the Democratic Party of Dane County. Basford argued that 319 signatures should be disallowed because the person’s address appeared to be written by someone else.
But the board accepted those signatures, saying it was OK to have someone else fill in the person’s address. Hulsey had 2,074 valid signatures, 74 more than required.
Hulsey said after the meeting that he would mount a serious challenge to Burke even though she raised $1.8 million in the first three months she was in the race last year, garnered support from the Democratic Party and nabbed major endorsements from unions and national groups that back liberal candidates, and a poll last month showed her running even with Walker while Hulsey barely registered.
“I intend to defeat Mary Burke,” Hulsey said.
Burke’s campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki said their campaign has been focused on defeating Walker since the beginning “and that’s where it will stay.”
George is trying to mount a comeback by taking on incumbent U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore in the 4th Congressional District. George was recalled from office as a state senator in 2003 and convicted of a felony count of conspiring to defraud the government in 2004.
Milwaukee labor leader Sheila Cochran had challenged nearly 1,000 of the signatures George collected on his nomination papers, saying they were collected by convicted felons.
The elections board determined that George submitted 1,391 valid signatures. He needed 1,000 to make the ballot. George did not attend the meeting.
Jeremy Ryan, a well-known protester of Walker and other Republicans, has said he is running against Paul Ryan because they share a last name. The Wisconsin Republican Party’s executive director said Jeremy Ryan should be kicked off the ballot because he misled prospective voters into thinking they were signing up to legalize marijuana.
Jeremy Ryan told the board that the complaint was meritless, as he clearly told those signing his nomination papers that he was running for Congress and planned, if elected, to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana.
The board agreed with him and voted to put him on the ballot.
The board denied access to five candidates for the state Assembly and one for the Senate. Challenged incumbents allowed on the ballot were state Sen. Frank Lasee of De Pere, Democratic state Reps. Mandela Barnes and JoCasta Zamarripa, both of Milwaukee, and Republican state Rep. Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie.