By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — One of the 10 Republicans who attempted to cast Electoral College ballot s for Donald Trump even though he lost Wisconsin said Monday he is running to become chairman of the state elections commission where he currently serves as a member.
Robert Spindell has been an outspoken member of the bipartisan commission and supporter of the investigation into the 2020 election being led by a former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice. Spindell has also traveled the state giving a presentation he calls “Thirteen Ways the 2020 Election was Rigged in Wisconsin.”
“I am far and away the best qualified for (commission chair) and it would really help the image of the Wisconsin Elections Commission if I am chosen for that,” Spindell said Monday.
The next chair of the commission will hold the position heading into the November election and in the lead up to the 2024 presidential election in battleground Wisconsin. The chair by state law approves the vote canvass following elections and certifies results. The chair also sets the agenda for the commission and can exert influence over how questions are framed, an important power on the board that is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats.
The commission scheduled a vote Wednesday to elect the next chair. State law requires the commission chair post to alternate every two years between a Republican and Democratic member who has been appointed by legislative leaders.
The current chair is Democrat Ann Jacobs. That means the next chair must be either Spindell or Dean Knudson, a former Republican state lawmaker, who served as commission chair for two years before Jacobs.
Knudson did not return messages seeking comment Monday. Spindell said he has spoken with Knudson about the chairman post, but he did not know if he would seek it.
“It has to be me or Dean,” Spindell said. “But I think I’m far and away the best qualified for that.”
Jacobs declined to comment about the prospect of Spindell, whom she has sparred with often, being the next chair.
“I think the discussion of who should be chair should best be held in our meeting in front of the public on Wednesday,” she said.
At least one Democratic member would have to vote for Spindell in order for him to become the next chair. It’s not immediately clear what would happen if the board were to deadlock.
“We’ll find out on Wednesday,” Jacobs said.
Spindell dismissed concerns raised by Democrats and others about his support for Michael Gableman’s election investigation, his serving as one of the 10 fake Republican electors and his questioning of how the 2020 election was run. Spindell and other Republicans who cast electoral votes for Trump, even though he lost to Biden, said they were trying to preserve his options in case a court overturned the Biden victory.
Spindell and the other fake GOP electors were sued last week.
Even though Gableman called for the Legislature to consider decertifying President Joe Biden’s win in the state, Spindell opposes that. Numerous attorneys, both conservative and liberal, have said the idea is illegal.
“You cannot withdraw the 10 elector votes,” Spindell said. “You can’t take Biden in and put Trump in today. I think that’s pretty clear. So I know a lot of this stuff, what you can do and can’t do.”
As for whether there was fraud in the 2020 election, Spindell said, “Nobody knows, maybe God only knows. But it’s certainly apparent that no fraud I can see has been proven in a court of law.”
Spindell said by electing him chair, he could help speak with Republicans who have concerns about the way the commission operates and alleviate their fears. The Republican Party on Saturday at its state convention approved a resolution calling for the commission to be dissolved.
Spindell opposes doing away with the commission, but said he was open to making changes to how it runs.
“Right now the organization is under quite a bit of attack,” Spindell said. “What we need to do with that is make things more transparent and show some of the good stuff that’s been done by the Wisconsin Elections Commission.”