Morning State News Briefs: Wangaard concedes defeat, Dems control State SenateWisconsin News
-- Five weeks after he was voted out of office, Van Wanggaard conceded defeat this morning in his Wisconsin Senate recall election. The Racine Republican said he would not file a lawsuit to challenge Democrat John Lehman’s victory on June 5th.
RACINE - Five weeks after he was voted out of office, Van Wanggaard conceded defeat this morning in his Wisconsin Senate recall election. The Racine Republican said he would not file a lawsuit to challenge Democrat John Lehman’s victory on June 5th.
A recount showed that Wanggaard lost by 819 votes, for a margin of just over one-percent. Wanggaard and other Republicans claimed massive voter fraud, and he said he received pleas from throughout the state to go to court. But he says a lawsuit would not be in the best interests of the Racine area or the Badger State. His defeat gives Democrats the majority in the Senate, at least until the November elections. Wanggaard said it’s more important for the state to focus on winning back the Senate this fall – and to win the state’s open U.S. Senate seat and 10 electoral votes in the presidential contest. Wanggaard, who unseated Lehman in 2010, says he’ll run for the post again in the 2014 elections. But there’s already talk that Lehman will be targeted for a recall attempt next summer, a year after he takes office.
Racine County sheriff’s deputies have finished investigating several complaints about the June 5th recall elections. Lieutenant Steven Sikora said all the information has been turned over to the district attorney’s office. And he could not say if his department recommended any criminal charges. Wanggaard said yesterday he heard that thousands of people should not have been given ballots. The sheriff’s department investigated election materials thrown into a garbage can – alleged irregularities spotted by poll watchers – and reports that people were bused into Racine County to vote for Lehman. Sikora said he not comment on the allegations, since the case remains open. Lou D’Abbraccio of Racine’s GOP election observers said he’s anxious to find out what sheriff’s deputies have uncovered. He told the Racine Journal-Times his group alerted deputies to a number of things. Some were procedural but quote, “Others potentially rose to the level of criminal activity.” Brad Wojciechowski of the state Senate’s Democratic Committee said he could not speculate on the sheriff’s investigation. But he said the allegations of voters being bused in are quote, “so far from the truth, it’s unbelievable.”
Taxpayers in Waukesha County will have to fork out a quarter-million dollars to fix the mistakes made by County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus in the state’s presidential primary on April third. That’s according to Sys-Logic, the consulting firm hired by county leaders to find out what happened and why. Nickolaus promised to post timely results online on Election Night. But the public was left in the dark for hours, while election reporting services and local media had to add up the vote totals themselves from long paper tapes hung in a meeting room. Sys-Logic said the problems were caused by an upgrade that Nickolaus installed to the county’s election software – and she was the only person trained to use it. A report said she did not follow the proper protocol, and it resulted in the computer system’s failure on Election Night. At the time, Nickolaus said she was shocked – because her staff had tested the new program “many times.” The clerk was already on the hot seat because of what happened a year ago – when she failed to immediately report 14,000 votes in the State Supreme Court election. It resulted in a statewide recount that Justice David Prosser won by only seven-thousand votes. After this year’s snafu, Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas threatened to call for Nickolaus’s resignation if she didn’t step aside from her election duties. She did that, and she promised not to run for re-election this fall.
A state appeals court has told a Milwaukee company to pay damages for an unsolicited ad the company faxed to another firm. Isaac Sawyer, who owns A-1 Security Locksmiths, filed a federal lawsuit in 2005 against Atlas Heating and Sheet Metal of Milwaukee. Sawyer claimed that the ad violated federal telephone consumer protection laws – it cost him paper-and-toner to receive the ad – and it violated his privacy. Sawyer also sued Atlas’s insurer, West Bend Mutual. And a Milwaukee County circuit judge ruled that the insurer had a duty to defend Atlas. The state’s First District Court of Appeals in Milwaukee upheld the ruling today. And it said the fax violated Sawyer’s right to be left alone.
Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin will be a visiting professor this fall at Lawrence University in Appleton. He plans to lecture as a guest in courses that include “Introduction to International Relations” and “International Politics.” Feingold served 18 years in the U.S. Senate before losing to Ron Johnson almost two years ago. Since then, he spent time as a visiting professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee – and he wrote a book on what he called Washington’s mistakes during the war-on-terror. Next year, Feingold plans to teach at the Stanford Law School near San Francisco.
A Green Bay pedestrian killed in a hit-and-run crash has been identified as 52-year-old Daryl Wayka. Police said he was struck by a white-or-silver car on Sunday night. It happened on Main Street on Green Bay’s east side. Wayka suffered a head injury, and he died later at a hospital. The driver is still being sought.
A man who disappeared in a Racine County lake over the weekend was a musician who worked with some of the biggest names in rock music in the 1980’s-and-‘90’s. 57-year-old Dennis Flemion of West Allis still missing yesterday in Wind Lake, and he’s presumed drowned. Rescue divers said they were hampered by wind currents and a lack of visibility as they continued their search. Authorities said Flemion was on a family outing Saturday when he took a swim from a boat. He went under, and never resurfaced. WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee said Flemion and his brother Jimmy were in a band that featured wild costumes and wild lyrics in the 1980’s – and they were discovered by the Smashing Pumpkins. The band was called The Frogs, and they opened for the Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, and other big-name rock bands in the early 1990’s.