Dueling radio ads in southeastern Wisconsin call for, against recalling Robin Vos

Racine Recall Committee ad accuses Vos of blocking impeachment of top election official, while Wisconsinites for Liberty Foundation ad call recall organizers 'out-of-state creeps'

Wisconsin’s Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks to the media at the state Capitol, Feb. 15, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Backers of an effort to oust Vos from office over his opposition to former President Donald Trump announced Sunday, March 10, 2024 that they’ve collected enough signatures to force a recall vote. Andy Manis/AP Photo

Conservative activists trying for a second time this year to remove Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos from office have launched a $50,000 ad campaign encouraging residents of Vos’ district to sign on to the effort.

Meanwhile, a group aligned with the speaker is running radio ads calling recall organizers “radicals” and encouraging residents to reject the effort. 

The Racine Recall Committee’s latest radio ad accuses Vos of protecting Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe from impeachment and includes audio of him saying he would work to keep former President Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee.

“Vos is bad for elections, bad for Wisconsin and bad for America,” the ad said. “If you live in his district in Racine County, sign the new recall petition.” 

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

In October, Vos told reporters he wouldn’t pursue Wolfe’s impeachment because of a pending lawsuit. Since then, he’s come around on Trump, and endorsed his run for president

Another radio ad running on Milwaukee and Racine area talk stations comes from the Wisconsinites for Liberty Fund. It labels recall organizers as “radicals from out-of-state” who attempted to remove Vos “just months ago.” 

According to an analysis by WisPolitics, the group spent $347,279 to support Vos in 2022 as he fended off a primary challenge from Republican Adam Steen. 

“Send those out of state creeps back where they came from,” the ad said. “Read it, don’t sign it.” 

The first recall attempt against Vos was led by Steen and Burlington resident Matthew Snorek. In April, the Wisconsin Elections Commission voted unanimously to reject the effort due to a lack of valid signatures.

Attorneys for Vos filed a challenge to several signatures submitted during the first recall, claiming the effort was “plagued with fraud and criminality.” 

Snorek launched a second recall attempt in March, giving organizers until May 28 to turn the new batch of signatures in. 

Retired U.S. Army Col. Conrad Reynolds, who lost a Republican primary for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District in 2022, is working with the Racine Recall Committee. He accused Vos of being “deeply aligned with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)” and claimed the speaker accepted money from the Chinese government by way of an organization called the State Legislative Leaders Foundation.

Reynolds also accused Vos of bullying conservatives who support his ouster. 

“To the people of Wisconsin in Racine County, if you want this bullying, these CCP tactics to continue, then don’t sign our petition,” Reynolds said. “But if you really want to make a change, and you really want to get Wisconsin free of this type of tactic, this type of bullying — it’s actually mob-like — get rid of it. You got to sign it (the recall petition).”

A staffer with Vos’ campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recall committee ads and claims.

WisPolitics has reported that recall organizers are offering $250 per day to people willing to collect signatures, including a $250 bonus for working seven straight days.

Reynolds told WPR the Racine Recall Committee is paying people to collect signatures, but didn’t say how much or where the money is coming from. He said those coming to Wisconsin from other states are patriots who may not have the resources to leave work and travel to help remove Vos. 

“And so we try to offset that cost,” Reynolds said.

Vos is the longest serving speaker in the Wisconsin Assembly’s history, holding that role since 2013. He’s become a target of Trump and his supporters for refusing to attempt to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.