UPDATE: Judge Kevin Martens has upheld the ruling by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Glendale Mayor Bryan Kennedy and Former State Sen. Jim Sullivan will not be on the ballot for the upcoming Milwaukee County Executive Race.
Two Milwaukee County Executive candidates who are currently left off the spring primary ballot are taking their battle to the courts.
Six candidates vying for Milwaukee County Executive took the stage at Nicolet High School Thursday night for debate, but two of them, Jim Sullivan and Bryan Kennedy are not on the ballot for next month's primary.
“No vote was taken, there was no hearing, there was no opportunity to be heard and that’s a heck of a thing to be disenfranchising thousands of people in Milwaukee County,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan and Kennedy were kicked off the ballot earlier this week by the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Both men had some of their petitions collected by the same canvassing vendor.
Earlier, that vendor collected signatures for candidate David Crowley. Under state law, one person cannot collect petitions for multiple candidates. The Wisconsin Elections Commission decided Crowley’s count and Sullivan and Kennedy’s do not.
“We followed all the rules and we should not be held accountable for the actions of a vendor,” Kennedy said.
Fellow candidate and Milwaukee County Board Chair Theo Lipscomb filed a challenge over Sullivan and Kennedy’s candidacy.
“I actually reviewed the signatures or the pages, hundreds of pages and compared them and saw the same names,” Lipscomb said.
Both Sullivan and Kennedy will now make their case in Milwaukee County Court on Friday to re-validate the signatures.
“I think that there’s a real challenge right now in terms of the need to get the ballots printed, so we’re up against a serious time crunch,” Sullivan said.
“This has been illegal for 40 years, so it’s not a new thing, it’s not something that just popped up,” Lipscomb said.
Kennedy said if the judge rules against their appeal he will discontinue his campaign and begin his re-election campaign for Glendale mayor. Sullivan said Thursday night he hasn’t made a decision.
Milwaukee County is required by law to provide ballots for the spring primary to all municipalities by Monday, January 27.