In response to remarks he made concerning minority turnout in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dems. are urging the Republican leader of the state Senate to have his appointment to the state’s nonpartisan election commission removed.
Even as Democratic lawmakers demanded his dismissal from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, a Wisconsin election official who faced criticism for remarks he made regarding minority participation in Milwaukee claimed Wednesday he hasn’t spoken with the Republican leader of the state Senate who hired him.
On Wednesday, Commissioner Robert Spindell—who also acted as a fictitious elector for former President Donald Trump—refused to step down. Former Senate Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald originally appointed Spindell in 2019. He was reappointed in 2021 by Devin LeMahieu, the majority leader in the Senate, for a term that would end in May 2026.
Spindell has come under fire when he openly praised GOP strategies used in Milwaukee during the 2022 midterm elections, attributing them to a decline in Black and Hispanic voter turnout.
A statement urging LeMahieu to revoke Spindell’s appointment was signed by ten of the eleven Democratic senators on Wednesday. Spindell has also been urged to quit by Democratic Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Mark Thomsen, numerous Milwaukee-based community activists, and voting rights organizations.
LeMahieu hasn’t been in touch with Spindell, he told The Associated Press on Wednesday, since his remarks went viral a week ago. LeMahieu has repeatedly declined to comment and hasn’t answered a request for comment right away. According to a spokesman, the senator was not available.
Senator LaTonya Johnson, a Black Democrat from Milwaukee, said at a press conference, “Remove this man. There is nothing to say and no need for an apology. Even when he made an effort to explain, he only made things worse.”
Spindell continues to stand by his remarks. He said he was praising the GOP’s efforts to fight liberal messaging in the Democratic stronghold of Milwaukee and accused Democrats of taking his remarks out of context. Voter turnout there must be high for Democrats to win statewide elections.
“To understand why they weren’t able to garner a sizable turnout,” he remarked, “They need to look at their own circumstances.”
Democratic Senator Kelda Roys stated that LeMahieu had the opportunity to demonstrate his sincerity by doing more to cooperate with opposing viewpoints during the upcoming legislative session in response to Democrats’ plea on Wednesday. A petition by Democratic Governor Tony Evers to place a non-binding abortion referendum on the ballot, however, has already been denied by Republican lawmakers.