Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Dean Knudson abruptly resigned last week. Knudson is a sane Republican who admits the obvious — Donald Trump lost — and thinks his party should move on from conspiracy theories. For that he’s been vilified by some of his fellow party members and he says that party leadership made it clear to him that they wanted him to step down.
Such is the state of today’s GOP. Reason, sanity, simple acceptance of facts is not welcome there.
This puts Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in a jam. He now has to make an appointment to replace Knudson. Some in the party are urging him to appoint professional clown Michael Gableman to the post. That would be a disaster and let’s trust Vos, who is a smart guy, not to do something that outrageously stupid.
On the other hand, retiring Sen. Kathy Bernier, who has been a strong critic of Gableman and a voice of reason on our elections, much like Knudson, has offered to take his place. I doubt that Vos will appoint her either as he has to contend with his large crazy caucus.
I expect Vos will appoint somebody with a low profile and no public paper trail with regard to the 2020 election. This is incredibly important because he may well be appointing the next chair of the Commission, who by law must be a Republican. The parties rotate chairs and the current chair is a Democrat. The other Republican on the Commission, Robert Spindell, was a fake elector for Trump and should be tossed from the Commission for that alone. In any event, he needs at least one Democratic vote and he won’t get it.
Anyway, what makes Vos’ choice important is that the chair will certify the results of the next elections. If Vos makes the wrong pick he could provoke a constitutional crisis with a chair who refuses to certify results that don’t go to his or her liking. Gableman would almost certainly do that.
Maybe Knudson should have stayed to fight the good fight, though it’s hard to blame the guy for just throwing up his hands and deciding he had better ways to spend his time than arguing with crazy people.
But he did what he did and now Vos has to get this right.