Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
Primary elections are an important part of our democratic system. They allow the grass roots base of a political party to play a major role in selecting a candidate to represent them. Rather than having major power brokers choose a party's candidate in a proverbial "smoke filled room", a primary gives a much broader base of citizens a chance to shape the political debate. However, due to recent cynical actions by the Wisconsin GOP, the primary process may be coming to an effective end.
Last summer, three Democratic and six Republican state senators faced recall elections. In each of the recalls of Republicans, a single Democrat stepped forward to challenge the sitting senator. No primary was needed in any of these races. However, the state GOP made the calculated decision to run impostor Democrats in each of the races to force primaries. This effectively doubled the cost of the elections to municipalities, with no visible benefit other than delaying the process.
In our own senate district, the impostor Democrat selected to run against challenger Sandy Pasch was 81 year old Mequon resident, Gladys Huber. Ms. Huber was handily beaten in the primary in a 64-35% decision. One of her few bright spots was in Germantown, where the impostor candidate collected enough crossover votes to allow her to carry our village with 53.6% of the primary vote.
Ms. Huber is a member of the Ozaukee County GOP and represented the party on the Canvas Board during the Supreme Court election recount . She proudly displayed Alberta Darling signs in her front yard while running as a "Democrat". After the announcement of her candidacy, members of the press asking for comment were told, "I really have no comment at all. I will refer you to the Republican Party of Wisconsin".
According to Ms. Huber's Campaign Finance Report, the organization "Friends of Gladys Huber" had only a single donor. The Republican Party of Wisconsin unabashedly gave the "Democratic" candidate $750 on 6/6/2011 to run her campaign. However, that was only paying her back. Ms. Huber has given $3165 to the party and various Republican candidates over the last decade.
As if running as a fraudulent candidate last summer was not enough disgrace for one lifetime, Ms. Huber is back for more. Once again, she has surfaced as an imposter candidate in recall elections-this time for Governor. As proudly announced by GOP spokesperson Ben Sparks, Ms. Huber will be part of the slate of 6 fraudulent candidates to run as Democrats in the May 8 primaries. The unethical plan is outlined in an RPW mailer. To get the 2000 signatures needed to put Ms. Huber on the Democratic primary ballot, 3659 people signed nominating petitions statewide. Assisting in this fraud were 41 residents of Germantown who attached their names and addresses to her nominating papers.
In her Declaration of Candidacy, Ms. Huber stated under oath that she is affiliated with the Democratic Party. In her circulated nomination papers she claims to be representing the Democratic Party. Wisconsin statues say that no person may "falsify any information in respect to....nomination paper,decaration of candidacy or petition for an election..." Violation of these statutes are Class I felonies.
Clearly, the fraudulent candidates are in violation of state election statutes. On April 12, a state Democratic Party lawyer, Jeremy Levinson, filed a formal complaint with the GAB, attempting to block the fraudulent Democrats from the ballot and to restore sanity to our primary election process.
There are at least four announced candidates for the August Republican primary for US Senate. There is one Democratic candidate, Tammy Baldwin. By the new political calculus, the Democrats could run a sham Republican in the primary who, with heavy crossover, would probably win over a divided Republican field. The sham Republican could then drop-out at the last minute, allowing Baldwin a cake-walk into office. That would be highly unethical, just as wrong as what the GOP is attempting to do in the recall primaries.
If putting fraudulent candidates on the other party's primary ballot is allowed to become an accepted practice, there is only one way to blunt the effects. Each party would decide on their nominees before the primaries-a decision made by party officials rather than by the broader primary electorate. That is not a healthy situation for either political party or for the democratic process. I hope that the GAB makes the right decision and stops this shady ploy.