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Recall effort launched against Vos

Conservative opponents of the powerful Assembly speaker hope to force a recall election in June

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos speaks at a press conference on June 8, 2023.
Conservative opponents of Robin Vos, R-Rochester, the powerful Wisconsin Assembly speaker, hope to force a recall election in June. (Drake White-Bergey/Wisconsin Watch)

Conservative activists have launched a recall effort against Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, citing his criticisms of former President Donald Trump and what they describe as an insufficiently right-wing record.

Matthew Snorek, a resident of Union Grove in Racine County, filed the petition to the Wisconsin Elections Commission on Wednesday. Vos, R-Rochester, has represented parts of Racine County in the state Assembly since 2005.

In the complaint, Snorek alleges Vos “is blocking fair elections in WI” and pointed to Vos not contributing to efforts by a small bloc of right-wing Assembly members to impeach Meagan Wolfe, the state’s top election administrator. 

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“Wisconsin must move ‘Forward’ without Robin Vos in power,” the complaint reads. 

 In a statement, Vos called the recall “a waste of time, resources and effort.”

“The effort today is no surprise since the people involved cannot seem to get over any election in which their preferred candidate doesn’t win,” Vos said, adding that he did not expect the recall to “gain any real traction.”

Vos ordered an Assembly investigation into Trump’s unfounded accusations of voter fraud in the 2020 election. That months-long probe, conducted by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, turned up no evidence of widespread fraud. Vos later rejected one call by Gableman for Wisconsin to decertify its 2020 election results.   

As a result, Vos was criticized by some on the right for not pushing pro-Trump conspiracy theories harder. Some of those critics mounted a primary challenge against him in 2022, coming close to defeating Vos in a GOP primary.

More recently, Vos said he does not support an effort among some Assembly Republicans to impeach Wolfe, the state’s top election official. Wolfe, too, has been a target of conspiracy theories because of President Joe Biden’s narrow state victory over Trump.

That victory has been upheld by multiple investigations, and lawsuits challenging Wisconsin’s results, in both state and federal courts, were either thrown out or ruled in favor of a Biden victory.

Snorek’s petition will need to get about 7,000 signatures — calculated as a quarter of votes cast in Vos’ Assembly district in the 2022 gubernatorial race — in order to force a recall election. Organizers are aiming for an election date in June.