Democrat Mahlon Mitchell, who is challenging incumbent Wisconsin GOP Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch in Tuesday’s special recall election, recently told Jeremy Segal of the blog Rebel Pundit that he was not engaged in politics before 2008. Mitchell did not vote until 2010, records show.
"I was just … I’m not really engaged in politics," Mitchell said in a video posted Friday. "I’m not really engaged in statewide politics at all. But once, what happened last year, and before that when Barack Obama came on the scene, that got me really, really engaged in politics. And I’ve been engaged ever since."
The conservative non-profit watchdog group Media Trackers reported Friday that Mitchell did not vote until the fall of 2010, according to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.
The GAB claims to have accurate records of public votes from 2006 onward.
Media Trackers reports Kleefisch has voted in at least 15 separate elections since 2006 and seven times since 2010, according to the GAB.
When reached for comment, Mitchell spokesman Kevin Benish said the candidate "has been disillusioned in the past," but realized one needs to vote to effect real change.
Spokesman Benish initially dismissed the report, saying Media Trackers "is not considered a legitimate media source." When told the records had come from the Government Accountability Board, Benish said he would look into it and call back.
He has not called back.
"With low voter turnout spelling doom for Democratic candidates in the recall election, Mahlon Mitchell had better hope that voters don't follow his example of skipping out on good citizenship and failing to cast a vote," said Brian Simka of Media Trackers.
Mitchell is currently the president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin. During the 2011 battles over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget reforms, Mitchell signed two letters threatening to boycott hundreds of local businesses if they did not oppose Scott Walker.