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Protest Candidate in 21st District Holding Fundraiser

Tamra Varebrook is holding a fundraiser at Fountain Hall in Sturtevant on Thursday. Donations over $50 are considered "host" contributions, but aren't necessary to attend.

**Updated 9:50 pm, April 18.

Tamra Varebrook, the "protest" candidate for the 21st Senate District, is hosting a fundraiser Thursday, but the state GOP had no idea and has no involvement.

Varebrook's name was placed on the ballot for the May 8 primary with the support of the state Republican party. The GAB Tuesday voted to allow the "fake" Democrats to remain on the ballots for all six recall primary elections - one each for governor, lt. governor, and four state senators.

State Sen. Van Wanggaard is under recall here in Racine County. On May 8, voters will choose between Varebrook and former Sen. John Lehman, whom Wanggaard defeated in Nov. 2010.

After first reading about the event on the Root River Siren blog, a quick check of Varebrook's campaign Facebook page indicates there will be a reception to help Varebrook's candidacy.

Scheduled from 6 to 8 pm Thursday at , 8505 Durand Avenue, Sturtevant, the reception asks for donations but says contributions aren't necessary to attend. $50 or more garners a silver, gold or platinum designation.

"I would like to personally invite you to a fund-raising reception to support my candidacy. Senate District 21 - Protest Candidate," the top of the page reads. She also invites those who can't attend to donate through her campaign website at www.tamraforsenate.com.

In an email to Patch, Varebrook explained the event as more of a get-together.

Tomorrow's event is a gathering a friends, family, and supporters. We are against the recall of Senator Wanggaard, Governor Walker, Lt. Governor Kleefisch, and the other 3 senators. Our focus is to remind the constituents of the 21st Senate District why John Lehman was not elected in 2010 and also remind them how Lehman's failed policies hurt our district. A re-do at taxpayer expense doesn't change the facts of the past.

Patch requested an interview with Varebrook to ask her what she'll do with the money she raises, but in a second email message back to us, she declined to comment. She also declined our request to attend the event.

"At this time I'm not making any statements regarding campaign finance," she said. "I'm also not having press at the event tomorrow."

But in a third email exchange, Varebrook said she would be in touch with Patch on Thursday.

Ben Sparks, communications director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, had no idea Varebrook was holding a fundraiser.

"This is the first I've heard of it," he told Patch when we called. "The state party is not expending further resources past getting names on the ballot."

The county party is also not involved, according to Bill Folk, chair of the Republican Party of Racine County. He said he was invited, but has no idea why Varebrook needs to host a fundraiser.

"A placeholder candidate is just that," he said. "If this were still a three-way race, it might make sense, but otherwise, I really have no idea."

Ken Brown of the Racine TEA Party said he'll be at the party, but the event is not sponsored by the TEA party. Still, he had some ideas on what Varebrook could do with the money she might raise.

"If she uses the money to actively campaign to push John Lehman off the ballot, then that would be okay," he said. "Or she could keep it in her fund and donate it toward the election campaigns of other Republicans like Van Wanggaard or Robin Vos."

Another option, Brown added, is that Varebrook can hang on to the money and use it to run for office again one day.

Reid Magney, communications director for the Government Accountability Board, said Varebrook is operating above board.

"Ms. Varebrook is properly registered with the G.A.B. for campaign finance purposes, and her candidacy has been certified by the Board for the May 8 primary," he said via email. "She is legally entitled to raise and spend money for any political purpose, subject to campaign finance laws."

Patch left a message for Justin Phillips, Wanggaard's campaign manager. We will update the story when we get comment from him.

GearHead April 18, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Sounds like fun... maybe I'll see you there. Gonna give Lehman a run for the money.
Keith Best April 18, 2012 at 07:24 PM
If Democrats could be counted on to be honest, protest candidates would not be needed.
Heather Rayne Geyer April 18, 2012 at 08:04 PM
So, can anyone get on the ballot (knowing they will lose...placeholder as said above), collect a bunch of money and then just keep it?? That is seriously legal?? Honestly I don't even give money to candidates I support. I will volunteer, write letters, make calls...but I won't give money. It is against my political religion. Campaign reform is a must and I do not feel all this money should be wasted in order for their to be an election. Dems, Reps, Fakes...regardless...
enicar333 April 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
YEAH - Imagine that. Voluntarily giving money to someone and then letting them use it the way they want to. How WEIRD. ON the other hand, government extracting money through the threat of force, property confiscation and imprisonment, THEN using that money to fund political/social/wealth transfer/ideaology purposes uses that one finds offensive - well, that's just DUCKY!
Pastafarian April 18, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Looks like a real WINNER!
morninmist April 18, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Fake candidates collecting money. I would think folks would be smart enough to say no.
Chris Larsen April 18, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The election laws and the GAB are VERY strict on how much and how the cash can be used. There is much paperwork and oversight. You cant turn this into a financial windfall. That being said, not sure really what she is fundraising for.......
Downtown Brown April 18, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Tamra may raise all the money she wishes and use it specifically for her campaign. Any funds she doesn't spend can be held in reserve for a future run. Or she can donate from her campaign to other campaigns. For instance there are hundreds of congresspersons not running for re-election or running unopposed, they can use whatever funds they have raised to support other candidates, Parties special organizations, etc. they can not specifically use it for personal needs. As for Tamra she'll probably makje enough money to break even at Fountain Hills and the folks are just getting together for some fun! Or maybe Tamra will running for another office in the near future..hmmmm If I was Peter Barca, I might be a little bit nervous...just saying!
Emily April 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM
You're using the ROOT RIVER SIREN as your source for an article? Is that really the very best you can do or are you that lazy?????
Keith Best April 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM
If Democrats could be counted on to be honest, protest candidates would not be needed. Not only that, but Gov. Walkers reforms are working.
Less Tolerant April 19, 2012 at 12:38 AM
If you don't donate that's your CHOICE, what do you care what others choose to do with their money? How is that your business? If people choose to donate to anything charity, politics, church, etc., why would that bother you? Last I checked it was sort of a free country.
Cynthia April 19, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Way to go Tamra!!!! ;) Best wishes for you!!!!
Cynthia April 19, 2012 at 12:38 PM
It's not like they can go shopping with it........ read the article....
Milwaukee Ironworkers April 19, 2012 at 02:45 PM
LOL It would be illegal for her to donate money raised to another candidate. Ken Brown needs to brush up on Campaign Finance laws. But then again, this entire idea of "fake candidates" is a joke as well. I'd suggest having a fundraiser for the Scott Walker Defense Fund. He's been paying his team for a lot longer than he first let on. But then again, he's not worried about "John Doe", right?
morninmist April 19, 2012 at 05:20 PM
The fakes will lose as will Walker and his TeaGOP minions. Lovely pic says it all. bluecheddar1 ‏ @bluecheddar1 "June 5 Koch vs. People" http://twitpic.com/9bokvx
GearHead April 19, 2012 at 07:13 PM
@MKE Iron: You sound like a typical clueless union thug who can't get off his talking points. Wrongo!!! Tell that to Doyle who gave a stupifying ONE MILLION dollars to groups supportive of Barrett's last LOSING run for governor. http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/102455234.html But I doubt he'll make that mistake again, eh?
Heather Asiyanbi (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 10:03 PM
@Emily - as I explained to Tamra yesterday, that is where I first saw anything related to the fundraiser and because I like to be transparent and not pretend like I discovered the news all on my own, I disclosed the original source. Perhaps you missed the rest of the article that clearly states I went to the campaign Facebook page and made a whole bunch of phone calls, including reaching out to Tamra?
James R Hoffa April 19, 2012 at 11:11 PM
An interesting situation indeed! Given the backlash by probable Lehman supporters to this news, one can only surmise that they're worried that Lehman may not even survive the primary, let alone make it into the general. Sorry Dems, but that's what you get for backing such a poor candidate! Best wishes to Ms. Varebrook in her efforts!
Noelle Lorraine April 22, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Keith, you are always there to say the obvious statements that the left just can't seem to grasp. God love ya!
Noelle Lorraine April 22, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Go, TAMARA, Go!
Fred Dooley April 23, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Oh, was it illegal when Jim Doyle gave a million bucks oh his left-over war chest to a left wing PAC to attack Scott Walker? No. But don't let that stop you Milwaukee Ironworkers. There are rules governing what may be done with any funds remaining I'm sure they will be followed.
Fred Dooley April 23, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I also have to question using a vile vulgur blog as a reference and linking back to it? Is this what Patch has become?

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