As you know, Wisconsin Republicans have hatched a scheme to run spoiler candidates in Dem primaries in order to delay the recall elections and give Wisconsin GOP state senators more time to save their hides. This plan has been openly embraced by the state’s Senate Majority Leader.
But it turns out there’s an interesting Washington angle on this story, too: A current top RNC official may have played a key role in developing the plan when he was with the state GOP. And he’s refusing to answer questions from reporters about it.
When the La Crosse Tribune first broke the story earlier this month, the paper reported that one Mark Jefferson, then the executive director of the Wisconsin state GOP, had been recorded discussing the plan with local GOP officials. Jefferson had served in that position for four years, as the right hand man of the Wisconsin state chairman, Reince Priebus. Priebus, of course, is now the head of the Republican National Committee.
Even as the story about the Wisconsin GOP scheme was breaking, it was already known that Jefferson would be moving to the RNC to play the role of midwestern regional director, a significant position.
No one is saying that the RNC itself played an active role in developing the plan. But Jefferson himself has in the past denounced such schemes as highly unethical. Last year, when Republicans accused Dems of running a spoiler candidate in a GOP primary in an Assembly race, Jefferson slammed it as a “nasty, cynical ploy.”
This goes beyond just the role of Jefferson. There are currently mounting questions about the scope, nature and real goals of this scheme — we have now learned, for instance, that all six GOP state senators targeted for recall knew about this plan, even though they earlier claimed ignorance. Jefferson could clear up a lot about what’s really going on here. He may not see any reason to do that, of course. But Wisconsin reporters are going to continue demanding that he do.
UPDATE: Links fixed on “repeated requests from reporters.” Apologies.