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GOP's Official Protest Candidate Files Papers for the 21st District

Whether or not Andrew Mielke, the surprise candidate from Caledonia, files papers is irrelevant now that Tamra Varebrook of Union Grove has been tapped to run against John Lehman in the May 8 primary leading up to the recall election of Van Wanggaard.

It's official. The against John Lehman on May 8 for the 21st Senate District.

An anonymous source sent photos to Patch of a packet they received in the mail - unsolicited - to help circulate signatures for Tamra Varebrook of Union Grove.

Now, a story in The Journal Times confirms that Varebrook was recruited to run as a protest candidate to make sure the recall election against Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) takes place on the same day as the recall elections for Governor and Lt. Governor. The party will not actively campaign for the protest candidates, but they will help collect the 400 signatures needed to get their names on the ballot.

Last week, Ben Sparks, communications director for the state GOP, told Patch that running protest candidates is a way to be sure that all recall elections happen on the same day. He said going this route makes it fair for everyone.

"This is about fairness. If we did not do this, some Republican candidates in a general election could face election on the same day every liberal in the state will turn out for the primary," he said. "This guarantees a primary and a general election on the same day for everyone."

Because there is already going to be a Democratic primary for the gubernatorial race, running protest candidates does not cost communities any extra money.

And it is legal to file protest candidates.

In an email to Patch, Reid Magney, communications director for the Government Accountability Board, confirmed it.

"Yes, it's legal," he wrote.

Andrew Mielke announced he would run as a Democrat against John Lehman despite not being a member of the Democratic Party of Racine County. He said he's more of an independent but has very definite Democratic beliefs and is working on collecting the 400 signatures needed to file his candidacy papers with the GAB by April 10.

When news first broke Friday about the GOP's plans to run protest candidates, Wanggaard's Campaign Manager, Justin Phillips, said they stand behind the party's decision.

"They have good reason for using this process and their choices for the candidates," he told Patch. "We stand behind their decision."

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