GOP attorneys filed a motion to dismiss Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate President Chris Kapenga from a lawsuit seeking an order to prevent Republicans from removing Meagan Wolfe as the state’s top election official.

The motion came after Vos, R-Rochester, said he was asking to be removed from the suit and didn’t agree with the strategy private attorneys were taking in the case. That includes the argument that the Senate’s September vote to remove Wolfe was “symbolic” and that the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization lacks the power to appoint an interim replacement because Wolfe continues to legally serve in the job.

Vos and Kapenga, R-Delafield, were named as defendants because of their roles as co-chairs of JCLO. The filing argues that because the GOP position is now that the committee lacks the authority to appoint an interim, the claims against Vos and Kapenga are moot.

The motion also seeks to dismiss four of the five claims that Dem AG Josh Kaul included in the suit to focus the case solely on whether the Elections Commission had an obligation to renominate Wolfe or tap someone new for the post after her last term ended July 1.

Kaul’s suit seeks five declarations: Wolfe is lawfully continuing to serve in the post; the commission’s 3-0 vote in June to reappoint her was insufficient; the Senate’s Sept. 14 vote to remove her from the job had no legal effect; the commission had no duty to appoint an administrator while Wolfe continues to serve in the post; and JCLO has no power to appoint an interim administrator unless there is a vacancy and the commission fails to appoint a new administrator.

The motion was filed ahead of a hearing Wednesday in which Dane County Circuit Court Judge Ann Peacock, who is overseeing the case, gave the parties until the end of business Thursday to weigh in on whether she should recuse.

Peacock worked at the Department of Justice prior to her appointment and was a colleague of Assistant Attorney General Charlotte Gibson, who is part of the legal team representing Wolfe. While at DOJ, she also represented Kapenga and the state in a lawsuit filed by a man who was injured in a crash that involved the lawmaker.

Read the motion here.

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