David VanderLeest

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David VanderLeest
David VanderLeest.JPG
Candidate for
Wisconsin State Assembly District 90
ProfessionWind farm developer
Campaign website
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David Vanderleest was a 2012 Republican candidate for District 90 of the Wisconsin State Assembly.

VanderLeest was a Republican candidate for District 30 of the Wisconsin State Senate in the recall election against incumbent Sen. Dave Hansen in 2011. VanderLeest lost to Hansen in the recall on July 19. VanderLeest was the organizer behind the "Recall Dave Hansen" campaign.[1]

VanderLeest's professional experience includes working in hospitality, retail, real estate, finance, and renewable energy. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay from 1996 to 1999.[2]

Seal of Wisconsin.svg.png
2011 Wisconsin Senate Recalls

Senators Facing Recall
Robert CowlesAlberta DarlingSheila HarsdorfDave HansenJim HolperinRandy HopperDan KapankeLuther OlsenRobert Wirch

Other Recall Information
Recalls by YearRecall Law in WisconsinRecall laws in other statesRecalls in Wisconsin2011 Scott Walker Budget Repair BillProtests over Budget Repair BillWisconsin Government Accountability BoardRecall timelineElection Results


Campaign themes

In an electronic communication, VanderLeest describes his political philosophy:[2]

  • "Pro-jobs"
  • "Pro-life"
  • "Pro-family"
  • "Anti-tax"



See also: Wisconsin State Assembly elections, 2012

VanderLeest ran in the 2012 election for Wisconsin State Assembly District 90. He defeated Joel Diny in the Republican primary on August 14[3] and lost to Eric Genrich (D) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[4]

Wisconsin State Assembly, District 90, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican David Vanderleest 39.4% 7,432
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngEric Genrich 60.2% 11,353
     - Scattering 0.4% 71
Total Votes 18,856

Wisconsin State Assembly, District 90 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDavid VanderLeest 62.4% 1,702
Joel Diny 37.6% 1,027
Total Votes 2,729


See also: Recall of Wisconsin State Senators (2011) and Dave Hansen recall, Wisconsin State Senate (2011)

VanderLeest announced on May 22 that he would run against current incumbent senator Hansen if a recall was approved. About 18,872 signatures were filed against Hansen on April 21, seeking his recall. Signatures were filed against nine different state senators in Wisconsin, while a total of sixteen were originally targeted for recall.[5]

Prior to VanderLeest's announcement, state Rep. John Nygren announced his campaign. Brown County Board Vice Chairwoman Mary Scray had considered running, but ended up endorsing Nygren instead.[6] VanderLeest said, “I just think that the Republican Party needs a good healthy primary in this race and I didn’t see that shaking out before I entered.”[7]

July 19 Recall Election

Hansen easily defeated VanderLeest in the recall election.

July 19 Recall[8]
Candidates Votes Percent
Dave Hansen (D) Approveda 22,051 65.93%
David VanderLeest (R) 11,054 33.05%
Scattering 340 1.02%


VanderLeest's campaign released a statement on July 8 challenging Hansen to "a debate on the issues facing Wisconsin, not a debate about distractions."[9]

Later on the same day, he released another statement that said, "We regret the unfortunate decision of Senator Hansen earlier today to deny his constituents a public debate on the issues that affect us all. He has once again proven his inability to discuss anything that really matters in WI. He lists no issues on his web page, and continues to elude political reality. This further illustrates his inability to be an effective representative of ALL his constituents."[10]

No taxes pledge

VanderLeest held a press conference on July 14 outside of the Brown County Courthouse where he signed a pledge saying he would not increase taxes if elected and said he would not talk about his personal issues.[11]

He referred to the election as “a referendum on whether Wisconsinites approve or disapprove of senators being derelict of duty for 26 days and going AWOL to the state of Illinois.”[12]

Nominating papers challenged

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed challenges against the nominating papers of VanderLeest, Kim Simac, Robert Lussow, and John Nygren on June 24. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board considered the challenges on June 27,[13] certifying all of the candidates except for Nygren. While he turned in 424 signatures, the Board found only 398 of those to be valid, two short of the 400 necessary to make the ballot.[14]

Nygren appealed the GAB decision in circuit court,[15] but the original decision was upheld. Nygren blamed the outcome on “Democrat-appointed GAB staff that has constantly worked against me as I defended myself from the Democratic Party’s frivolous challenges.” [16]


Certification challenge delays

On May 27, 2011, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board announced it would be unable to consider the recall petitions for the three Democratic incumbents at the May 31, 2011 meeting. Citing "numerous factual and legal issues," the Board said in its statement that more time was needed to ensure that a complete record would be available for examination -- particularly since the decision will likely be appealed to the courts.[17]

In its release, the GAB officials said they did not expect to be able to hold a hearing on the recalls of Democratic incumbents until the week of June 6. This raised potential legal issues, as the initial extension granted to GAB for certification required it to ultimately make determinations before June 3.[17]

The board went ahead with hearings on May 31 for the recalls of Republican incumbents Sheila Harsdorf, Robert Cowles and Alberta Darling.[18] Officials released a 125-page memo on May 27, 2011 concerning the signatures and legal challenges.

VanderLeest called the delay a partisan move, saying, "I would immediately ask the Senate and the legislature to defund the GAB and replace it with a body that can be unbiased."[19]

The GAB filed a brief on June 1 asking the court for a one-week extension, which would give them until June 10 to finish working on the three Democratic recalls. The case was heard in Dane County Court at 1:30 pm on Friday, June 3.[20][21] Dane County Judge John Markson ruled that there was good cause for the extension, and that the GAB did not violate any rules by taking up the petitions out of order.[22]

Ultimately, on June 8, after nearly 9 hours of deliberations, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board certified the recalls of three Democratic incumbents and set an initial election for July 19.[23]

Ads relating to the campaign

Campaign contributions

David VanderLeest Campaign Finance Reports (GAB ID No. 0105109)
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Total Contributions (Expenditures) Cash on Hand
Special Pre-Primary[24] July 12, 2011 $715.12 $0 $(460.35) $254.77
July Continuing[25] July 11, 2011 $0.00 $2,000.00 $(1,248.88) $715.12

Official reports

Recent news

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External links

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  1. WTAQ, "'Recall Dave Hansen' organizer running for Senate," May 22, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 Candidate bio submission, September 4, 2012
  3. Wisconsin Department of Elections - Official Primary Results
  4. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "Candidates on Ballot by Election - 2012 Partisan Primary 8/14/2012," retrieved June 12, 2012
  5. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "It's official: Signatures filed in Hopper recall campaign", April 7, 2011
  6. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Republican Mary Scray withdraws from state Sen. Dave Hansen recall election," May 26, 2011
  7. Green Bay Press Gazette, "Recall organizer VanderLeest hopes to run against Sen. Hansen," May 23, 2011
  8. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "July 12 Primary Election Results District 30," accessed August 11, 2011
  9. WisPolitics, "VanderLees Campaign: Statement on granting interviews," July 8, 2011
  10. WisPolitics, "VanderLeest Campaign: Statement on debates," July 8, 2011
  11. ‘’Green Bay Press Gazette, “VanderLeest vows not to raise taxes, won’t talk about past,” July 14, 2011
  12. ‘’WBAY, “Hansen, VanderLeest Face Off in First Recall Election Next Week,” July 13, 2011
  13. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Challenges filed against 4 GOP candidates in recall races," June 25, 2011
  14. ‘’WisPolitics, “GAB kicks Nygren off the ballot,” June 27, 2011
  15. ‘’Wis Politics “Nygren vows to pursue further legal options,” June 27, 2011
  16. WisPolitics, “Nygren Campaign: Statement following Dane County court decision,” July 1, 2011
  17. 17.0 17.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Review of recall petitions going slowly; July 12 election in doubt," May 27, 2011
  18. Greenfield Reporter "Wis. election officials delay decision on recall petitions for Dems, may need date change," May 27, 2011
  19. NBC 15, "Six Republican Recalls Approved, Democrats Delayed," May 31, 2011
  20. WisPolitics, "GAB formally asks judge for more time to consider recall petitions against Dems," June 1, 2011
  21. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "State board requests more time to review recall petitions," June 1, 2011
  22. NBC 15, "UPDATE: Judge Grants Week Extension for Recall Review," June 3, 2011
  23. WISN, “GAB Certifies 3 Democratic Recall Elections,” June 8, 2011
  24. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT: STATE OF WISCONSIN: GAB-2: Friends of VanderLeest," July 12, 2011
  25. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, "CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORT: STATE OF WISCONSIN: GAB-2: Friends of VanderLeest," July 11, 2011