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Senator Luther Olsen’s Backers Turn Mean At Press Conference

April 21, 2011

This is probably not the face of democracy that Senator Luther Olsen is hoping to convey to the voters that are about to have a say on recalling him from office.

This was just plain ugly.

Plainly put there was no reason for supporters of Senator Olsen to be in the room when the announcement of Representatives Fred Clark’s candidacy for State Senate was announced.  That Olsen’s supporters did show up was only for the sake of mischief, which they need to be slapped down for.

Republicans have talked about ‘union thugs’ over the weeks of the collective bargaining dispute.  What in hell do you call those thugs who act on behalf of Luther Olsen?

Tensions were high and one man’s camera was busted in Baraboo on Thursday as supporters of Republican Sen. Luther Olsen — who is facing recall — disrupted a press conference organized by Democrats.

A room in the Baraboo Civic Center — which was rented by Sauk County Democrats — was packed with backers of Rep. Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, who announced his intention to run for Olsen’s Senate seat in the upcoming recall election.

As Sauk County social worker Jill Ellinwood introduced Clark at the podium, a few of Olsen’s supporters forced their way into the packed room and the groups traded insults.

Clark took the podium, and during a pause in Clark’s speech a tussle broke out in the back of the room.

Chuck Goranson of Portage said he was trying to take a picture when one of the Olsen supporters “reached up and grabbed the lens and twisted it.”

The lens on the small handheld camera no longer functions, Goranson said. But he doesn’t plan to file a police report.

Olsen’s campaign spokesman, Jeff Weigand, denied that his group caused a disturbance inside the Civic Center.

One can only wonder if Olsen’s campaign will be more forthcoming and candid with the voters in the recall election than when trying to describe the event on Thursday.

  1. rqcrqc permalink
    April 26, 2011 10:08 PM

    The people causing the disruption at Fred Clark’s candidacy announcement were not from some lunatic fringe group; they were recruited and organized by the official Republican Party of Sauk County, where this took place. Before the event, they tried to block the sidewalk in front of the Civic Center, and formed a gauntlet of shouting men that people wishing to attend had to pass through. Just before Representative Clark spoke, some of the forced their way into a room that was already overfilled and rudely interrupted the announcement numerous times. This was a disgusting, shameful, unAmerican display. The only defense for it I’ve heard from the right wing is that similar things have happened elsewhere at other times. Well, that would excuse just about anything, I suppose, but even then I don’t believe you can find an instance where a major political party was responsible for this kind of effort to interfere with a candidacy announcement.

  2. April 24, 2011 9:08 PM

    Lets not forget how the teabaggers spat on a black member of Congress.

  3. CommonCents permalink
    April 24, 2011 8:21 PM

    How soon we forget! The teabaggers were the ones who mastered the art of shouting people down, disrupting listening sessions and shouting down members of Congress last year. Yet, they are so quick to condemn anyone else who uses their tactics!

  4. April 22, 2011 9:30 PM

    Well at least you did not deny what took place with the Olsen folks.

    On another note.

    Look, Madison did not want Sarah Palin here. This is not her turf. Money lured her here…..

    While I do not like those who shout down other speakers, there are times when enough is enough. Palin was the line that needed to be crossed and a message sent.

    In a lecture hall when a speaker comes to to the UW-Madison campus I would be aghast and correctly upset if they were shouted at. There have been really conservative but well reasoned and intelligent folks who have come and offered their perspective and no one shourted at them. They might have sharp questions after the speech, but that is what should take place on college campuses. But Sarah Palin is a bomb thrower who somehow thought she could be amplified and that would make all the difference. It did not, and she was quickly put in her place on the steps of the statehouse.

    And no one, unless I missed something this week, and that is very possible, was arrested for the break-in. I have no way of knowing it was not a conservative who wanted to do what Scott Walker mentioned in his prank phone call….you know….stir up trouble and make it look like the union folks are at the center of it.

  5. Patrick permalink
    April 22, 2011 4:37 PM

    This is what deomcracy looks like. These are just people using the tactics of the left–like shouting down palin or swearing at a 14 year old girl or threatening store owners or breaking into recall offices. Please don’t lecture people about civility.

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