MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A well-known protester who says he's running against Congressman Paul Ryan because they share a last name should be kicked off the primary ballot for misleading prospective voters into thinking they were signing up to legalize marijuana, Wisconsin Republicans argued Thursday.
The state party asked elections officials to disqualify Jeremy Ryan, the lone primary challenger to the former vice presidential candidate. In their complaint, The party argued many residents thought they were signing a marijuana petition, not one for a congressional challenger to one of the state's most popular Republicans. The primary is Aug. 12.
"Jeremy Ryan — the outrageous Madison Democrat who spent the last several years launching vicious and personal attacks on Republicans — circulated nomination papers under false and misleading pretenses, and he fails to meet the minimum number of valid signatures required," Republican Party Executive Director Joe Fadness wrote in an email.
More than a dozen citations have been dismissed against Jeremy Ryan for protesting at the state Capitol. But he said pictures showing him holding a green sign that reads "Sign Here. Legalize Marijuana," were taken out of context. He insisted he made clear to those signing his nomination papers that their autograph would help get him on the ballot to challenge the other Ryan.
"It was just for marketing. It was trying to get people to come up toward me so I could tell them what I was doing and get them to sign the papers," said Jeremy Ryan, 25.
He said he chose the chairman of the House Budget Committee because the two share the same last name, and that he wanted to move the Republican Party back to its roots.
The complaint says every page of Jeremy Ryan's nomination papers is invalid because Jeremy Ryan collected signatures under false pretenses. It also alleges more anomalies among other signatures that would invalidate enough signatures to get the second Ryan off the ballot.
The state Government Accountability Board website shows Jeremy Ryan has 1,113 valid signatures. Congressional candidates need at least 1,000 signatures to qualify.
Thursday was the deadline for challenges to candidates' attempts to get on the ballot. The board meets Tuesday to verify all candidates.
Follow Taylor W. Anderson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TaylorWAnderson .