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Politics & Government

Senators Refuse to Attend Candidates Forum


A couple Republican candidates in Wisconsin plan to boycott a debate – because the sponsor is the League of Women Voters.

State Sens. Glenn Grothman and Joe Liebham are running for Congress, for the seat Republican Tom Petri is vacating. A league opinion has upset the two senators.

The League of Women Voters traditionally holds debates in noteworthy races. It has also been fighting Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law.

That’s the stance turning-off Sens. Glenn Grothman and Joe Leibham. Leibham was the lead sponsor of the bill. It requires people to present photo identification at the polls, but is on hold because of legal challenges.

Both senators have released written statements about their boycott. Andrea Kaminski calls it unfortunate. She’s executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.

“The League works very hard to reach out to all the candidates to get them to participate in our forums. We treat all candidates equally. Our forums have very high standards for nonpartisanship and professionalism,” Kaminski says.

Kaminski says the forum will go on next Monday night, in Mequon, with the other two GOP candidates in the race, state Rep. Duey Stroebel and Tom Denow.

Steve Jagler is a former president of the Milwaukee Press Club and has hosted several candidate forums. He says both the boycotting candidates and voters will lose a valuable opportunity.

“If I’m running for office, I want a chance to convince people who might disagree with me, that my viewpoint is the right viewpoint and that it should be a viewpoint they should consider. I would look at it as a chance for exposure to my campaign and to enlighten people who might otherwise disagree with me,” Jagler says.

The GOP primary is set for August. The winner will take on Democrat Mark Harris in November.