Mahlon Mitchell kicked off his candidacy for lieutenant governor last week with a lively gathering at the downtown restaurant Merchant. Bagpipe players warmed up the crowd before Mitchell, a Madison firefighter and president of the statewide firefighters union, offered some spirited comments and accepted a $10,000 donation from his own union, Fire Fighters Local 311.
While Mitchell has the highest name recognition at the moment, having achieved prominence during the Capitol protests, he will have to beat four other candidates in the May 8 Democratic primary, including Isaac Weix, a "fake Democrat" lined up by the Republican Party to ensure a primary before the general election.
The Government Accountability Board ruled this week in response to a challenge from the Democratic Party that such candidates do not violate Wisconsin law, which does not ban individuals from running for office "for any political or strategic reason."
The other fake Democratic candidates who will appear on the May 8 ballot include: Gary Ellerman, who will face off against Democrat Lori Compas in the race to recall Sen. Scott Fitzgerald; Tamra Varebrook, who joins Democrats John Lehman and Andrew James Mielke in the recall race against Sen. Van H. Wanggaard; Jim Buckley, who will run against Democrat Donna Seidel in Senate District 29; and Gladys R. Huber, who will join six Democrats, two independents and one libertarian in the recall race for governor.
Gov. Scott Walker will also have some company on the May 8 ballot. Arthur Kohl-Riggs, who has vigorously protested the governor's policies, is running as a "Lincoln" Republican. Michael J. Mangan and Patrick O'Brien are also running as Republicans.