AP

Wisconsin Elections Commissioner stands by voting comments

Jan 10, 2023, 10:42 PM | Updated: Jan 11, 2023, 3:38 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican member of Wisconsin’s bipartisan elections commission on Wednesday stood by comments he made crowing about depressed turnout among Black and Hispanic voters in heavily Democratic Milwaukee, saying he won’t resign as a fellow commissioner and others have called on him to do.

Commissioner Robert Spindell, who also served as a fake elector for former Republican President Donald Trump, said his comments sent in an email to about 1,700 people in December were not bragging about voter suppression.

“I will not stand for that,” Spindell said in an interview. “The last thing I want to do is suppress votes.”

Spindell said his email was an attempt to detail positive steps Republicans did to counter the Democratic message in Milwaukee. That was thanks to what Spindell called a “well thought out multi-faceted plan” that included recruiting strong Republican candidates, efforts to boost them, a presence on Black talk radio shows along with “Negative Black Radio Commercials.”

Spindell provided the email, first reported on Tuesday by Urban Milwaukee, to The Associated Press on Wednesday. He also provided the AP with a similar message titled “Republicans Did Exceptionally Well!” that he said he handed out to supporters at his Christmas party and other Republican events.

Spindell, who is white, says in the email that Republicans “can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.”

“The Democratic candidates were unable to obtain — even though they really tried hard — the votes they needed, expected and demanded from the Black Community,” Spindell wrote. “There is still a great deal of much more concentrated work we need to do in the Black and Hispanic Communities by continuing to show how the Democratic Elected Officials and Candidates are not watching out for the livelihoods of the people who live in these areas and the Republicans can.”

Wisconsin Elections Commissioner member Mark Thomsen, a Democratic attorney, called on Spindell to step down, saying he “has shown he cannot be fair.”

Spindell dismissed the request, saying it was the third or fourth time Thomsen had asked him to resign.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Executive Director Devin Remiker called efforts to suppress Black and Hispanic votes in Milwaukee “repugnant” and also said Spindell isn’t qualified to serve. Remiker called on Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu to rescind Spindell’s appointment.

The Milwaukee-based Black Leaders Organizing for Communities also called for LeMahieu to rescind Spindell’s appointment.

“It is incredibly racist to brag about lowering Black and Brown turnout, it is also unacceptable to have these comments and views held by an election official,” the group said in a statement. “His comments show blatant bias. Bob Spindell and his allies are the only ones who are intentionally undermining our democratic process.”

LeMahieu did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Thomsen and Spindell frequently clash on the commission, which oversees elections in Wisconsin.

Spindell is also a defendant in three separate pending lawsuits related to him serving as a fake GOP elector.

One in federal court seeks $2.4 million in damages from Spindell and the other fake electors, alleging that they were part of conspiracy by Trump to overturn the election. Another lawsuit in Dane County circuit court alleges that Spindell should have recused himself from a complaint filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission seeking action against the fake electors, of which Spindell was one. A third lawsuit alleged Spindell did not comply with the state open records law for documents requested related to his being a fake elector.

All of the lawsuits were brought by Law Forward, a liberal-backed Madison-based law firm.

Democrats made a concerted effort to increase turnout among non-white voters in Milwaukee in 2022. Republicans also worked to increase turnout, including opening offices in the Democratic stronghold that is home to the state’s largest population of Black voters.

Democrats had mixed success in 2022, with Gov. Tony Evers winning reelection but Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson also winning. He narrowly defeated Mandela Barnes, who is from Milwaukee and was seeking to become the state’s first Black senator.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

2 hours ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

2 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

3 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

3 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

4 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

5 days ago

Wisconsin Elections Commissioner stands by voting comments