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Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

Voters Beware

Conservatives are masquerading as Democrats

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Are some Republicans stooping to new levels this year? Factions of the Republican Party have become so toxic that one of its most conservative members, former state Sen. Tom Reynolds, has recruited extreme right-wing candidates to run as Democrats in the Sept. 9 primary.

Reynolds’ PAC, Clean Sweep Wisconsin, portrays itself as a grassroots-driven organization that seeks to oust longtime incumbents.

But Clean Sweep is not a benign grass roots campaign. Rather, it’s Reynolds’ back handed attempt to bring his extreme right wing politics back into the mix through his surrogates at the same time that this version of extreme right-wing Republicanism has been deemed an utter disaster. The PAC’s platform is straight out of the Republican Party’s talking points: dismantling the pub lic school system; a no-tax-increase pledge that would blow up the state budget and diminish serv ices; micromanaging public colleges; treating illegal immigrants inhumanely; and a market-driven health care system with health savings accounts that only help those who already have health insurance coverage.


What’s more, most of the Clean Sweep candidates have been endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin, a group that is so extreme that it represents only a fraction of the pro-life movement because it opposes not only abortion, but birth control, too. But Reynolds didn’t recruit these conservative candidates to run as honest Republicans, since they would get trounced in the general election in November, when Democrats are favored. Nor has he recruited candidates to run against any Republican incumbents.

Instead, Reynolds’ PAC is running these candidates in the Democratic primary on Sept. 9, with the hopes that he can confuse enough voters—and attract enough Republicans who are willing to cause mischief—in a low-turnout primary.

So, voters beware.

The real Democrats who have been targeted by Reynolds are the following, and they deserve the Democratic primary voters’ support because they support the Democratic Party’s ideals:

Pedro Colon in the 8th
Assembly District Annette (Polly) Williams in the 10th Assembly District
Tony Staskunas in the 15th Assembly District
Leon Young in the 16th Assembly District
Barbara Toles in the 17th Assembly District
Christine Sinicki in the 20th Assembly District

The Shepherd endorses these candidates and urges Democratic primary voters, for the sake of electoral integrity, to give them their support.

What’s your take? Write: editor@shepex.com or comment on this story online at www.expressmilwaukee.com.