The Assembly District 98 race here in Waukesha County has been quite dramatic thus far. From the Democratic candidate who seemingly ran away, to the Republican candidate whose staffer received an OWI on her way to pick up that candidate’s child from dance class, it has been interesting, to say the least. And with the revelation that another candidate was cited for obstruction in 2006, the race has taken on a reality show quality.
In case you missed any “episodes”of “The Real Candidates of Assembly District 98,” here’s a synopsis:
In January of 2013, Eric Prudent, the only Democratic candidate for AD 98, basically abandoned his campaign with no warning (and has yet to make a statement about it, either publicly or privately).
Later that month, Daniel Bice of JSOnline reported that one of the Republican candidates, Jeanne Tarantino, former aide to Rebecca Kleefisch, “said in a sworn deposition,” during divorce proceedings, “that she believed she was transferred from her state job because of her age and gender.” Understandably, this revelation caused quite a stir.
In early February, Bice reported that a Waukesha County judge, Judge Carter, sealed those records. “Carter did not return calls explaining why he sealed the file. In a statement, Tarantino said she “immediately regretted” saying under oath that she was transferred from Kleefisch’s office because of her age and gender. She repeated the remark later in the deposition.” Nevertheless, Kleefisch stood by her endorsement of Tarantino for AD 98.
But wait, there’s more.
On Tuesday, February 14, WTMJ 4 reported that Tarantino’s “campaign strategist,” Rachel Pecor, was arrested for drunk driving. Pecor tried to pull rank by stating that she worked for Tarntino, and told officers she was on her way to pick up the candidate’s child from dance class. Officers found three empty vodka bottles in the car.
Obviously, Tarantino received negative publicity for this and released a statement on Friday indicating that Pecor was off the campaign, according to Bice. In the statement, Tarantino claimed that Pecor was a “volunteer” and said she would not talk about “a pending legal matter.”
Meanwhile, Adam Neylon, himself a Republican candidate for AD 98, does not appear to be as squeaky-clean as his campaign lit makes him out to be. It turns out, in 2006 Adam Neylon was cited for obstruction after a so-called “hazing” incident at Carroll University, according to an October 27, 2006 report by Sarah Larimer of JSOnline:
In plain view of neighbors who thought they were witnessing an abduction, eight Carroll College students carried out an apparent hazing incident that led to their arrest early Thursday, police said.
But the Beta Pi Epsilon fraternity president said police and college officials blew the escapade out of proportion and called hazing a relic of the past. Fraternity pledges, he said, were turning the tables on their house brothers by taking an active member away in a car.
Police say it was a fight witnessed by neighbors outside the Steele and Swarthout residence halls that got them involved in the incident.
Police were called to respond to the scuffle about 1:08 a.m., Lt. William Graham said. When officers arrived, witnesses weren’t forthcoming about the fight but did give a description of a vehicle they saw at the incident.
Police later located the group and vehicle on I-94 in the area of Brookfield Road, Graham said. He said the group indicated that it planned to abandon someone in Milwaukee and force him to find another way back to Waukesha.
“Should people have gotten in trouble, yes,” fraternity president Adam Baumann-Neylon said. “Nobody should be wrestling around in other people’s property late at night, and that was a mistake. But hazing has nothing to do with what happened last night.”
The fraternity’s pledges tried to take an active member away in the car as a joke, Baumann-Neylon said, not the other way around.
He said the group was goofing around outside the residence hall and witnesses overreacted. Baumann-Neylon, a member of the school’s baseball team, said he and other fraternity members have been suspended from the college and must meet with the dean of students.
“It’s surprising how big this was blown out of proportion,” he said.
Adam Neylon and another student received citations for obstruction at that time, according to JSOnline.
It is uncertain whether those obstruction charges “stuck,” and to be fair, Adam Neylon did graduate from Carroll in 2008. However, that Adam Neylon was associated with this kind of “goofing around” is pause for concern, as is the fact that he was once the president of a fraternity that was recently suspended indefinitely due to a record of “disruptive” conduct.
If Tarantino’s history is subject to scrutiny, Adam Neylon’s should be fair game, as well. For that matter, all five candidates should be subject to the same level of scrutiny.
Thankfully, there has not been any drama surrounding the other three GOP primary candidates that I am aware of-the candidacies of Todd Greenwald, Matt Morzy, and Ed Baumann have been relatively quiet. And it should be noted that Ed Baumann recently received a coveted endorsement by Ex-Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow.
But the primary is not until next Tuesday, so anything could happen, I suppose. Stay tuned.
UPDATED 2/21/13: Adam Neylon won the race by 30 votes. According to Waukesha Patch, the absentee ballots that are currently out and due back by 2/22 will not likely change the result, and Ed Baumann has no plans to seek a recount.