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Wisconsin Republican leader who angered Trump targeted for recall a second time

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Supporters of former President Donald Trump who are trying to force a recall election targeting Wisconsin’s top elected Republican, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, said Tuesday they have enough signatures after their first effort came up short.

They targeted Vos, the longest-serving Assembly speaker in Wisconsin history, after he refused to impeach the official who oversees the battleground state’s elections, angering Trump and his followers.

Whether there are enough valid signatures to trigger a recall election will be up to the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission to determine. The panel rejected the first attempt for not having enough valid signatures.

Petition circulators said they would submit more than 8,000 signatures collected from voters in the district Vos was elected to serve most recently in 2022. They need 6,850 valid signatures to force a recall election.

In March, the group submitted more than 9,000 signatures but of those the elections commission determined that only 5,905 were valid, falling short of the number needed to call an election.

The commission asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to clarify whether any recall election should take place in the district Vos was election to serve or under new district boundary lines that take effect for the regular November election.

The court declined to further clarify or amend its December ruling that found the current maps to be unconstitutional and barred their future use. That raised questions about what boundary lines should be used for any recall election.

In the first recall attempt, Vos challenged the validity of thousands of signatures and declared the effort failed no matter what district lines are used. He has derided those targeting him as “whack jobs and morons.”

Vos declined to comment Tuesday until after petitioners had submitted their signatures.

Vos has 10 days to challenge signatures that were collected. He can challenge on a variety of grounds, including that a person signed more than once, signed someone else’s name or doesn’t live in the legislative district. He can also challenge if he believes the person circulating the petition misled the signer about its intent or if a signature was not collected during the allowable circulation period.

The elections commission has 31 days to determine if the petition has enough valid signatures, which can be appealed in court. If a petition is determined to be sufficient, a recall election must be called for six weeks later.

Vos angered Trump and his supporters in Wisconsin by refusing calls to decertify President Joe Biden’s narrow win in the state in 2020. Biden’s win of about 21,000 votes has withstood two partial recounts, numerous lawsuits, an independent audit and a review by a conservative law firm. Vos further angered Trump supporters when he did not back a plan to impeach Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top elections official.

Wolfe has been a target of those who falsely believe that Trump won Wisconsin in 2020.

Vos has repeatedly said he was not in favor of impeaching Wolfe because there was not enough support among fellow Republicans to do so. He has said he wants to see Wolfe replaced, but a judge last year blocked the Legislature from taking steps to remove her.

Scott Bauer, The Associated Press

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