GREEN BAY - A Brown County Republican Party leader is apologizing for comments he made referencing the accidental death of Democratic State Sen. Dave Hansen's granddaughter.
Jason Wisneski will be on next week's spring ballot, running for Brown County supervisor. But, separate from that, one of his peers is suggesting Wisneski resign from his leadership position with the Brown County Republican Party.
Wisneski says he was trying to make a comparison when he wrote online about the death of Hansen's granddaughter. Wisneski’s comments were in response to a newspaper article about his 2008 no-contest plea to animal mistreatment.
Wisneski wrote, "It's funny how they never bring up Dave Hanson murdering his grandchild though."
In 2007, Hansen backed his vehicle up in his driveway, running over his granddaughter. She died.
“In no way am I calling Mr. Hansen a murderer,” said Wisneski to FOX 11 on Wednesday afternoon. “I understand what happened was an accident. I was just more so pointing out the hypocrisy of the press in not, it seems like they don't want to bring up any tragedies when a liberal has one, but if something painful happens to a conservative, they'll do that two weeks before the election.”
Wisneski is referring to the newspaper article outlining the 2008 incident with his then-girlfriend's cat. Police say Wisneski admitted to throwing the cat against a wall. It suffered four broken legs.
However, Wisneski denies hurting the cat. He brought one of his four pet ferrets to our interview, hoping to show his love for animals.
“What people don't understand about that 2008 incident is I didn't have any money for continued legal defense,” said Wisneski.
Wisneski says the article stressed him out, which is when he wrote about Hansen.
“You get upset, I'm human and I made a mistake and I'm sorry for that,” said Wisneski.
Hansen issued a statement.
“While Mr. Wisneski’s comments are unfortunate and have caused great pain to our family, the outpouring of support we have received has reminded us of how many friends we have here and what a truly caring community Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin is,” wrote Hansen.
“I plan on reaching out to Mr. Hansen to apologize if that's the way those comments were taken,” said Wisneski.
The Chairman of Brown County's Republican Party also issued a statement.
“We were extremely disappointed to learn of comments made recently by candidate Jason Wisneski in reference to Senator Dave Hansen and his family,” wrote Brown County Republican Chairman Mark Becker. “Neither Mr. Wisneski nor his wife speak for the Brown County Republican Party. His comments are beneath the character standards we have set and we denounce them wholeheartedly.”
Becker says he'll let members of the party decide whether he should resign as vice chair.
He is challenging Green Bay's far east side incumbent supervisor Tom Sieber in next Tuesday's election.