Mon May 7, 2012
Protest candidate says he's running for real
A so-called protest candidate picked by the Republican Party says he’s seriously running for state Senate. James Engel of Fall Creek believes he’s a better choice than Republican Sen. Terry Moulton.
James Engel’s candidacy is forcing a primary in the 23RD state Senate District recall election. The Republican Party has said protest candidates were being used to standardize election dates and they wouldn't actively campaign. But Engel says he’s not standing by, “I don’t think they expected their candidate to start running very seriously and I have done that. I have been on the road for three weeks and I am doing that.”
If Engel beats Democrat Kristen Dexter in next week’s primary he vows to stay in the race and challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Terry Moulton. Engel says he’s the better choice, “I do believe strongly in my heart that we have government for the people, by the people and of the people, not for by or of the parties or their special interests and I see both parties working on their special interests.”
Republican Party of Wisconsin Spokesman Ben Sparks would not comment for this story. Campaign finance records show the party has spent just under $1000 on Engel’s campaign. Mort Sipress is a political science emeritus professor with UW-Eau Claire. He says Engel's only chance of winning the primary would be a mobilization of Republican activists, “If that happened, yes, you could get a closer election but he’s not well known, the only ones who would come out and vote for him would be those recruited for the Republican Party.”
But Sipress says the odds of Engel actually making it past the primary are very slim.