4 thoughts on “I don’t know who I’m going to vote for my Congressman this year, but I do know this…

  1. Now that the GOP is being “force-represented” by people like Nehlen and the neo-nazi guy running for governor in Illinois…an interesting question to ponder is…should a respective State and County Organized Party be able to approve the candidate’s representative ballot designation “these days” ?

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    • Interesting you should ask.

      In January of 1992 when I was working for WTMJ I drove to Madison to cover a meeting of the Presidential Preference Selection Committee that had to determine which candidates would appear on the April ballot for Wisconsin’s Presidential Preference Primary.

      Under Wisconsin law, preparation of the ballot for the presidential primary begins with the convening of a state nominating committee. The committee is charged with the responsibility to place on the ballot the names of all candidates whose candidacy is generally advocated or recognized in the national news media. The committee has the sole discretion to determine which candidates meet the statutory criteria and may also place the names of other candidates on the ballot.

      The nominating committee consists of representatives of each political party whose candidates for governor received a certain percent of the total votes cast in the most recent election for that office.

      The controversial question in 1992 was whether former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke should be placed on the presidential primary ballot as a Republican. The committee voted 6-5 against the idea.

      Immediately following the meeting in my role as devil’s advocate journalist I interviewed state Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah), a member of the committee who also was a friend.

      In reference to Duke I said to Ellis, “He says he’s a Republican.” Without hesitation Ellis barked, “Well so what!”

      Ellis also stated “I don’t know a Republican organization in this country that recognized David Duke as a Republican.”

      On the 6-5 vote, the five Republicans on the committee voted against Duke and the five Democrats voted for Duke.

      The tie-breaking vote was cast by Committee Chairman Gordon B. Baldwin, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Wisconsin and a political independent.

      “I’m very troubled about thrusting a candidate on an unwilling party,” said Baldwin. “I’d be perfectly willing to have him on the ballot but not as a Republican.”

      On behalf of Duke the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit and the WI Supreme Court ruled in favor of Duke who was placed on the April primary ballot as a Republican.

      The ACLU argued that WI law stipulated that anyone is eligible if they are recognized by the national media as a presidential candidate.

      On April 7, 1992, George Bush won the WI GOP presidential primary with 364,507 votes (75.58%). David Duke captured 12,867 votes (2.67%)

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