MADISON - If Republican State Rep. John Nygren is going to win a state senate seat in this month's recall election, it will be as a write-in candidate.
A Dane County judge heard arguments Friday morning on behalf of Nygren, who had hoped to get his name on the ballot for an upcoming recall election. Dane County Judge Richard Niess said the decision of the Government Accountability Board, which disqualified Nygren for the ballot, stands.
The hearing Friday morning stems from a lawsuit filed this week by Rep. John Nygren of Marinette. He argues that he wasn't given a fair chance to make his case to state election officials before they declared him ineligible for the race.
The Government Accountability Board concluded Monday that Nygren turned in only 398 valid voter signatures with his nomination papers, two shy of the minimum required.
The recall election targets Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen of Green Bay. He's one of nine Wisconsin senators targeted for recall following weeks of wrangling over parts of Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill.
When asked what Nygren says to his supporters, he replied, "I accept responsibility and I'm sorry that I disappointed them and we're going to work hard to rebuild the reputation I've earned over the last few years."
Nygren and his attorneys tried to get his name on the recall ballot, but failed.
"Three signatures are at issue," Judge Richard Niess said during Friday's hearing.
Attorney Eric McLeod argued three signatures should be allowed.
One man who signed Nygren's nomination papers listed his work address, which is outside of the senate district, and the Government Accountability Board therefore found it invalid. The man's home address, however, is within the district.
"Residential address was omitted, contrary to the statute," Niess said while announcing his ruling.
McLeod also said Nygren signed his own nomination papers as a circulator (someone who looked over the signatures), but did not sign them as a voter. McLeod said Nygren's signature should count.
One woman who signed to get Nygren on the ballot signed another candidate's papers first, and therefore her signature was not valid.
McLeod said she made a mistake, and if the will of the people is to be done, her signature would also be validated.
"I do not believe that there is a clear duty or a legal right to have her signature counted on the ballot," said Niess.
The judge went on to say the will of the people is done through the Government Accountability Board.
"I am not surprised that the judge ruled, but you never know," said Kevin Kennedy, Government Accountability Board after the hearing. "The important thing is that we have a decision and can proceed with the election. We were prepared to move forward, whatever decision the judge had."
Nygren says will not appeal the judge's ruling, and will continue to serve as a state representative for those in Northeast Wisconsin.
Nygren's attorney says he is disappointed with the ruling and believed his client had enough signatures, but the judge saw it differently.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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