Jeremy Ryan gets his shot against Rep. Paul Ryan for GOP nod

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Associated Press
June 10, 2014

MADISON—A Madison man who filed papers to run as a Republican against Rep. Paul Ryan will be allowed on the Aug. 12 primary ballot, the state elections board decided Tuesday. 

Jeremy Ryan has been a fixture in the protests against Republican Gov. Scott Walker and other Republicans at the state Capitol. He has said he is running in the 1st Congressional District Republican primary in part because he and Paul Ryan share a last name.

The Wisconsin Republican Party's executive director said Jeremy Ryan should be kicked off the ballot because he misled prospective voters into thinking they were signing up to legalize marijuana. 

Jeremy Ryan, 25, told the board that the complaint was meritless, as he clearly told those signing his nomination papers that he was running for Congress and planned, if elected, to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana. 

The board agreed with him and voted to put him on the ballot. 

The Government Accountability Board, comprising six former judges, also denied access to five candidates for the state Assembly and one for the Senate.

The board allowed these challenged incumbents on the ballot: Republican state Sen. Frank Lasee of DePere, Democratic state reps. Mandela Barnes and JoCasta Zamarripa, both of Milwaukee, and Republican state Rep. Kathy Bernier of Lake Hallie.

The board allowed these candidates on the ballot despite challenges:

-- Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brett Hulsey, who, like Jeremy Ryan, is running a longshot campaign against a better-known and better-funded incumbent.

Hulsey garnered news coverage in recent months for bizarre behavior, including promising to hand out homemade Ku Klux Klan hoods at the state Republican Party convention. He is challenging Mary Burke in the primary. 

Hulsey wasn't given a speaking slot at the Democratic Party convention last weekend, but he attended and listened to Burke's speech calling for the party to unify and defeat Walker. 

Michael Basford, chairman of the Democratic Party of Dane County, argued that 319 of Halsey's signatures should be disallowed because the person's address appeared to be written by someone else.

The board accepted those signatures, saying it was OK to have someone else fill in the person's address. Hulsey had 2,074 valid signatures, 74 more than required. 

Hulsey said after the meeting that he would mount a serious challenge to Burke even though she far outstrips him in fundraising and support.

Burke's campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki said her campaign has been focused on defeating Walker since the beginning “and that's where it will stay.”

-- Convicted felon Gary George, who is running for Congress in Milwaukee.

George is trying to mount a comeback by taking on incumbent U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore in the 4th Congressional District.

Voters recalled George from office as a state senator in 2003, and he was convicted of a felony count of conspiring to defraud the government in 2004.

Milwaukee labor leader Sheila Cochran had challenged nearly 1,000 of the signatures George collected on his nomination papers, saying they were collected by convicted felons. 

The elections board determined that George submitted 1,391 valid signatures. He needed 1,000 to make the ballot.

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