MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission who has faced calls to resign after falsely declaring that former President Donald Trump won the state claimed Thursday that he’s done more for Black people than any other white Republican.
Bob Spindell, who is white, made the remark after two members of the public called for him to resign during a commission meeting.
There has been a push for Spindell to resign, or for Senate Republican Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu to rescind his appointment, ever since Spindell bragged following the 2022 midterm election about efforts to depress Black and Hispanic voter turnout in Milwaukee.
“There is no white Republican that has done more for the Black community than me, so I suggest you go back and take a look at my past record,” Spindell said.
He made the comment after Nicholas Ramos, executive director of the government watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, called for his resignation. Ramos cited Spindell’s earlier remarks about voter suppression as well as his serving as a fake Trump elector.
Spindell said that Ramos should look at his voter outreach record. Spindell was first appointed to the commission in 2019. Prior to that he served more than 18 years as an election commissioner in Milwaukee.
Ramos said after the meeting that Spindell’s comment “shows you how out of touch this man is from reality.”
“He couldn’t have picked a better month to be condescending to me and other Black people in this state with his remarks,” Ramos said in reference to February being Black History Month. “Going into a presidential election cycle, WEC cannot afford to have a fake elector and voter suppression artist on their commission. Spindell needs to resign immediately.”
Angela Lang, executive director of the Milwaukee-based Black Leaders Organizing Communities, stared at her phone in disbelief when she saw what Spindell had said.
“It’s ridiculous that he would make these statements,” she said. “I think people are rightfully upset by those comments and demand accountability and want to have trust in the process and we can’t do that with him on the commission.”
Spindell sent an email to his supporters in December 2022 saying that Republicans “can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.”
Spindell said his email was an attempt to detail the positive steps his party took to counter the Democratic message in Milwaukee, a city where high turnout is crucial for Democrats to win statewide. Spindell credited a “well thought out multi-faceted plan” that included recruiting strong Republican candidates and reaching out to Black voters.
Spindell has accused Democrats seeking his ouster of taking his comments out of context.
Spindell and nine other Republicans tried to serve as an alternate slate of presidential electors and cast their ballots for Trump after he lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden. To settle a lawsuit over the scheme, they acknowledged that a majority of Wisconsin voters chose Biden, and that their actions were used in an effort to overturn Biden’s victory.
Democratic elections commission member Mark Thomsen, who called on Spindell to resign a year ago over his Milwaukee voter comments, on Thursday praised Spindell for the admission that Biden had won the election, calling it “very, very important.” Biden won Wisconsin by just under 21,000 votes.
“It’s very, very reassuring to me that Commissioner Spindell has come out boldly and said that Joseph Biden won in 2020,” Thomsen said.
Thomsen also said he was glad that Spindell “finally came around” to the fact that the commission oversaw “fair and accurate elections in 2020.”
LeMahieu, the state senator who appointed Spindell, has stood by him. The commission is comprised of an equal number of Republican and Democratic appointees.