Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, will face Jay Stone in a GOP primary that will all but formally decide who will represent the Senate’s 21st district.
Wanggaard, 70, is a former member of the Racine Police Department. He has held the 21st district’s seat since regaining it in 2015 after being recalled in 2012. Stone, a 65-year-old retired hypnotherapist, looks to unseat Wanggaard in the primary election on Aug. 9. The winner will run unopposed in the November general election, as there are no Democrats vying for the seat. The 21st SD is made up of most of Kenosha and Racine counties, including the cities of Burlington and Racine.
Wanggaard said he wants to move past the controversy surrounding the 2020 presidential election, adding the state doesn’t have “the lawful authority by the Constitution or any other means” to decertify the election results. He related this to trying to take away a touchdown a week after a football game.
“The Green Bay Packers are playing in the Super Bowl, and in the last two seconds there’s a touchdown and the game’s over. All of the sudden, three days or a week later, someone gets a piece of video that shows that that touchdown didn’t really occur. … You can’t recall that play,” Wanggaard said. “It’s already in the books.”
Stone disagrees with the reviews and audits that showed no major occurrences of fraud, claiming “it’s very clear that it did” and citing federal election complaints that he made leading up to the 2020 election.
Stone made headlines in 2020 for filing complaints against Mark Zuckerberg and the Center for Tech and Civic Life, asserting Zuckerberg’s $400 million donations to the CTCL and the Center for Election Innovation and Research were “partisan campaign contributions.” He claimed CTCL had a “hidden motive… to increase Joe Biden’s statewide vote with grants to the state’s Democratic stronghold”.
“I think it’s very clear that their [CTCL’s] distribution of grants was intended to get out the Democratic vote,” Stone said. His complaints against Zuckerberg and the CTCL ultimately failed.
“There are 55 congressmen that formed an Election Integrity Caucus in the U.S. Congress and they’re gonna investigate the election. And I know they will uncover fraud,” Stone said, referencing the group formed by U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-New York.
The Legislative Audit Bureau’s nonpartisan audit of the 2020 presidential election results found no widespread errors made by voting machines across the state.
The state is expecting a $5.4 billion surplus, according to Revenue Secretary Peter Barca, and Wanggaard wants to see the money returned to taxpayers despite his caution about the projection’s accuracy.
“Oftentimes everybody wants to spend money they think they have, and then all of a sudden they don’t have what they thought they had,” Wanggaard said.
“We need to watch and see what actually comes in. I do agree with returning those dollars to the taxpayers, and I would look at continuing our tax relief for senior citizens that have pensions,” he added.
When asked about managing the projected surplus by either investing it into state priorities, using it for long-term tax cuts, or giving it back to taxpayers through a rebate, Stone asked: “Why can’t it be all three? It doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
“It’s also important to look at future revenue streams and expenses to see if that surplus is gonna be there in three or five years down the line,” Stone said. “I think it’s good to keep money in reserve because you never know when an emergency is gonna come up.”
Wisconsin’s 173-year-old abortion ban, which includes an exception to save the life of the mother, came back into effect when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Wanggaard would like to see exceptions added for rape and incest, saying “those are the two things that I think are somewhat reasonable, at least early in that process.” Stone signaled his full support for the ban as it stands right now, including the life of the mother exception.
And concerning higher-than-normal gas prices, both candidates agree that a suspension of Wisconsin’s gas tax may only solve short-term problems and that reducing gas prices should be the responsibility of the federal government.
“It might help in the short term, [but] I think it would hurt in the long term,” Wanggaard said about a hypothetical suspension of the gas tax. “I think we need to adjust some of those federal policies and allow drilling to continue … so we can go back to becoming an exporter of energy resources instead of importing this garbage we get from our adversaries.”
Stone agreed, saying “they should keep the gas tax where it’s at. It’s not the state’s fault that the gas prices are so high; it’s the jerk in the White House.”