Up in Wisconsin’s 75th Assembly District, two Democrats and four Republicans are vying for the seat currently held by State Rep. Mary Hubler, who announced earlier this year she wouldn’t stand for reelection, and now that the candidates have handed in their nomination forms, there appears to be an interesting challenge to the candidacy of Matt Bitz, one of the two Democrats vying for the seat.
According to a press release issued by the group Wisconsin Progress, Bitz isn’t eligible to be a candidate for the State Assembly, as he hasn’t lived in Wisconsin for at least a year:
Wisconsin Progress filed a complaint to Mr. Bitz’s attempt to be placed on the November 2nd ballot this fall seeking to represent the 75th District. The complaint filed by Kristen Crowell, Executive Director of Wisconsin Progress, clearly outlines the facts that Mr. Bitz does not meet the eligibility requirements clearly set forth in the Wisconsin State Constitution, Article IV, Section 6 : “no person shall be eligible to the legislature who shall not have resided one year within the state…”
“Wisconsin Progress takes very seriously the access of candidates to the ballot. Mr. Bitz has not been a Wisconsin resident long enough to qualify to serve in the state legislature and we have verification of his voting record in New York City. That is the sole basis of the complaint, “ says Kristen Crowell.
At issue is Bitz’s status as a registered voter in the State of New York, where he voted as recently as the 2009 general election. Bitz registered as a voter in New York in 2008, and in his response to the challenge to his ballot status, Bitz argued that while he was registered as a voter in New York, he never relinquished his Wisconsin residency.
In response to the press release issued by Wisconsin Progress, Bitz’s campaign was quick to issue a press release responding to the challenge to Bitz’s status on the ballot, but instead of responding directly to the allegation, Bitz instead chose to paint the challenge to his ballot status as part of some grand conspiracy on the part of Kristen Crowell of Wisconsin Progress and Nicholl Caruso, current head of the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee (ADCC), who once upon a time was Crowell’s boss at Progressive Majority Wisconsin.
I don’t know enough about Matt Bitz to begin to formulate a theory as to why Kristen Crowell and Wisconsin Progress would conspire with Nicholl Caruso of the ADCC to keep Bitz off the ballot, but this is certainly political theater worth watching.