Monday, July 19, 2010

Young Republicans challenge Baldwin's eligibility

Last week, many candidates for political office in Wisconsin filed their official nomination signatures by citizens from within their districts or around the state. Tammy Baldwin, the current Representative from Wisconsin's Second Congressional District, which includes Dane, Green, Rock, Jefferson, Columbia, and Sauk Counties, also submitted her papers.

The Young Republicans of Dane County challenged the signature papers that Baldwin submitted, charging that the address she supplied voters (as proof of residency within the Second Congressional District) was in fact her campaign headquarters' address.

While the allegations are true -- her address listed was indeed the same as her campaign's -- the Government Accountability Board (GAB) isn't likely to care much about it. Baldwin, being an open lesbian from the Second Congressional District since 1998, has received many threats from ultra-conservative constituents, who view her lifestyle as an abomination. The GAB has allowed Baldwin since the time she was first elected to use her campaign address on her signature lists in order to protect herself from bodily harm.

The move by the Young Republicans is one of two things: it's either a move of ignorance, of not knowing this is how Baldwin has done things for well over a decade in order to ensure her own safety; or it's a WILLFUL act of ignorance, a blatant attempt of using that information in order to make Baldwin look bad, to appease the very people that want her out of office by whatever means necessary.

It might do the GOP in the Second Congressional District (and elsewhere for that matter) some good to ignore the extreme elements of their base. Doing so doesn't just make sense politically -- it makes sense morally as well. They should reject the views of those extremist elements, reject them as part of their "base," and perhaps focus on real campaign issues rather than inconsequential concerns like Baldwin's voting address, a concern the GAB has already addressed.

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