01STOCK_VOTING4

MADISON

Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., will not face a primary challenge this year, but his two Democratic opponents likely will face off in a primary Aug. 11.

That situation in the 1st Congressional District was set up by unanimous votes of the state Elections Commission on Wednesday.

The commission agreed with a challenge filed by the state Republican Party against the nominating petitions filed by Republican John Baker of Mukwonago.

The panel disqualified some signatures from people who live outside the district, leaving Baker with fewer than the required 1,000 signatures.

It also voted unanimously not to allow ballot status to a Libertarian candidate in the 44th Assembly District on Nov. 3.

The commission denied ballot status to Libertarian Reese Wood, who had submitted signatures from people outside the Janesville district, leaving him with fewer than the 200 required signatures.

The denial of Wood’s candidacy leaves Republican DuWayne Severson and Democrat Sue Conley on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Wood and Baker argued in the commission’s online meeting that candidates should be given a break because of the difficulty of contacting people for their signatures during the coronavirus pandemic.

The challenge to Wood’s signatures came from Trevor Ford of the state Republican Assembly Campaign Committee. Ford noted that other candidates were able to get enough signatures.

Commissioner Robert Spindell said he was the city of Milwaukee elections commissioner for many years, and he had seen many candidates disqualified by missing the requirement by one, two or three signatures.

The best way to avoid that problem is to gather enough signatures above the minimum in case some are thrown out, Spindell said.

“I do sympathize and thank you for all the work you did and trying to collect all those signatures,” Spindell told Baker.

The commission also considered challenges to signatures submitted by Democrat Josh Pade of Bristol in the 1st Congressional District.

The other Democratic candidate, Roger Polack of Caledonia, challenged some of Pade’s signatures, and Pade challenged the commission staff’s rejection of some of his signatures.

The commission reversed its staff’s decision, awarding Pade more signatures, but it disqualified 16 of the signatures. Pade remained with enough signatures to gain ballot status.

Polack had challenged the 16 signatures, saying the nominating petitions had been certified by Pade’s wife, but she was not present when those signatures were collected May 9. The petition circulator must be present when petitions are signed.

Pade admitted Jessica Randazza-Pade was not there. He said he collected those signatures, and she mistakenly signed the wrong petitions.

Polack’s attorney then questioned more than 700 signatures certified by Randazza-Pade, saying Pade’s admission makes all those signatures questionable.

The commission did not address that objection, saying it was not a question that had been formally submitted.

The Polack campaign said it intends to appeal to the commission, questioning the validity of 644 signatures Randazza-Pade certified on the same day as the 16 that the commission found invalid.

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