I Know I Promised, BUT: Theo Lipscomb Is Back In The News!

I thought I was done with the County Executive Race until the April general election. And I know I promised that I wasn’t going to post anything more about signatures or nomination papers…unless…there was some big new news. And…unfortunately, there is!

Today Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that County Board Chairman Theo Lipscomb used some of the same contracted circulators as Rep. David Crowley, Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy, and former state senator Jim Sullivan. Chair Lipscomb got Mayor Kennedy and Mr. Sullivan bumped from the ballot after the questionable signatures were removed from their nomination papers and they no longer had the minimum required to be included on the ballot.

Mr. Bice reports that Chair Lipscomb only had 331 questionable signatures and reported them to the election commission. But unlike the other candidates, if those signatures had been removed, he still had sufficient qualified signatures and would be on the ballot anyway.

So no harm, no foul? Well, you all know how I feel if you’ve read my posts in the past several weeks. But some pertinent points from Mr. Bice:

So how surprising would it be to find out that Lipscomb outsourced the job of collecting some of his own signatures and even ran afoul of the same election rule he wielded against Sullivan and Kennedy? That law prohibits candidates from using circulators who earlier worked for another campaign (editor’s note: in the same race).  

But that’s precisely what Lipscomb did. He is one of four candidates vying to replace Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who is not running for re-election. 

A review of Lipscomb’s nominating papers shows that he used three of the same circulators that state Rep. David Crowley did.

The circulators worked first for Crowley and then Lipscomb, meaning the signatures they collected for Lipscomb shouldn’t have counted. In all, those three circulators gathered 331 signatures for Lipscomb. 

Removing those signatures wouldn’t have been enough to knock Lipscomb off the ballot. The deadline for challenging nomination papers is long past. 

Now, this next bit won’t shock any of you…nor me…since Mayor Kennedy is a pretty vocal and outspoken individual:

But the issue was enough to raise the ire of Kennedy, who said he was “shocked” to find out that Lipscomb was guilty of the same offense that he used against Kennedy and Sullivan. 

“Lipscomb‘s hypocrisy is appalling,” Kennedy said. “He held other candidates to a standard that his own campaign violated.”

And then this quote…and I call bullshit on this one. Otherwise we apparently just have another careless and entitled politician…and we don’t need anymore of those:

Reached last week, Lipscomb said he was aware that he had some signatures collected by overlapping circulators, though he didn’t know the full extent of the problem

emphasis mine

And Mr. Bice doesn’t indicate how Chair Lipscomb came to have overlapping circulators with Rep. Crowley, Mayor Kennedy, or Mr. Sullivan. But the other three all hired community organizer Simon Warren, owner of the Sweet Black Coffee shop. And again, I suggest that Mr. Warren, if not open to criminal charges, is at risk of having civil charges brought by those candidates removed from the ballot.

But is that the only news about Chairman Lipscomb? Well, no. There’s a little opinion piece over at Urban Milwaukee by Bruce Murphy which is actually about the rise of Rep. David Crowley in the exec race, but has something to add about the moves made by Chair Lipscomb!

It seemed like a master stroke by County Board Chair Theo Lipscomb in his race for Milwaukee County Executive: Lipscomb’s legal challenge of the nomination papers of Jim Sullivan and Bryan Kennedy was upheld by the state Election Commission and then the courts, wiping out two of his key opponents.

Kennedy, as Glendale mayor, overlapped part of Lipscomb’s county supervisor district, leaving them likely to divide the North Shore vote. And Sullivan, a Milwaukee county department head and former state legislator, had gotten the maximum possible contribution from retiring County Executive Chris Abele, no fan of Lipscomb, who might have been expected to spend big through his third party Leadership Milwaukee group to elect Sullivan.  

But as it turned out, the real beneficiary of Lipscomb’s move was candidate David Crowley, the Democratic Assembly Representative. Because Kennedy quickly moved to endorse Crowley for county executive while offering what might seem like a slap at Lipscomb: “We can trust that David Crowley will be putting the people first — not his own ambition — as our next Milwaukee County Executive.”

One day later we learned that Abele had switched to supporting Crowley, with his Leadership Milwaukee group making a six-figure ad buy for Crowley, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

In short, Lipscomb had assured that rather than a vote split between six candidates, it would now be down to just four candidates, with much of the backing for Kennedy and Sullivan now combined to support Crowley. 


The primary is this coming Tuesday, February 18th. If you haven’t voted during the current early voting period, get out and make your choice known!

We are happy with our endorsement of State Senator Chris Larson!!!


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