David VanderLeest, the Republican candidate in next week’s Wisconsin recall election targeting Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen, is continuing to rebut stories of his legal and financial problems. Allegations about his personal finances and reports of domestic violence in his former marriage have dogged his campaign.
“I read a social services report yesterday that says I smoke crack,” said VanderLeest, during an interview on Joy Cardin of Wisconsin Public Radio. “None of it’s true. I don’t smoke rocks, and that’s the truth.”
To be clear, VanderLeest was not the GOP’s preferred candidate. Instead, Republicans became stuck with VanderLeest after their originally recruited candidate, state Rep. John Nygren, failed to submit the required 400 valid petition signatures. Nygren submitted slightly over 400 signatures for himself — despite the fact that Republicans had been able to gather 18,000 signatures to trigger a recall — with not enough of a buffer for when a few them were disqualified. Nygren initially filed a lawsuit to get onto the ballot, but lost in court and announced he would not further appeal the decision.
Later in the interview, VanderLeest alleged that he had been mistreated by the police, due to he and his family having opposed police salary increases in local referenda.
“As far as my past, you know what, I lived it. I’ve been there. I know which — these accusations that were made, I know they’re not true,” he said. “You know, like I said, yesterday I got a report from social services that says I smoke crack. I mean, that’s just not the case, it’s not true.
“You know, as far as my past goes, you know, I had a bad marriage, and my family voted against police raises above the standard of living for 30 years in Green Bay. You know, cuffs were put on me. When I asked if I could make a statement, I was always told, ‘You give your statement to the judge, we don’t care what you have to say.’ You know, that’s not how the system should work, and you weren’t there, and you didn’t live it.
“You know, I sleep well at night, and that’s the reality of the situation.”