Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chris Wiken, The Dark MoneyCandidate

From left to right: Ex-con Jeff Pawlinski, Craig Peterson, Chris Wiken,
Mark Borkowski and Todd Reardon

I was warned long before this election cycle kicked in that the dark money groups - think Koch Boyz, Bradley Foundation and the such - were going to try to run a candidate in every race at every level, from school boards to city seats to county seats and beyond.

Even as the warning came out, Eric O'Keefe, the head of the Wisconsin Club for Growth and one of the main co-conspirators for the collaboration between Scott Walker and these dark money groups, has been bouncing around Milwaukee trying to draft candidates for various races.  To aid him in this endeavor, he enlisted Craig Peterson, a Republican operative in the Milwaukee area.

And in Milwaukee, they have a number of candidates running for various seats in the city, including Bathroom Bob Donovan running for mayor and against any city alderman that voted for the streetcar.

Unfortunately for them, they were either very desperate for candidates and took anyone willing to sell out to them or just did a very poor job at vetting them.

Take Chris Wiken for example.

Wiken is the guy that O'Keefe and Peterson picked to run against Alderman Terry Witkowski.

However, they had to fix a few things before he could run, like moving him out of Waukesha County and into the district.  When he announced his candidacy, he went to great pains to make sure everyone know that he was moving just because of the streetcar issue.

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but that seems like a pretty dramatic move to deal with just one issue that wouldn't have impacted him anyway.

Then there was the issue of three drunk driving charges that they apparently did not know about or did not care about:
Local businessman Chris Wiken, who is challenging Milwaukee Ald. Terry Witkowski, has an explanation for each of the three times he was charged with drunken driving.

The first time, Wiken said, he was young and stupid. He was found guilty, and his license suspended.

The second time, Wiken said, he was mistakenly charged with driving while highly intoxicated. The charge was later dropped.

The third time, Wiken said, the message finally sank in. He was found guilty, his license was suspended and he said he has since tried to turn his life around. His race against Witkowski is one of the most highly contested Milwaukee races.


In August 2010, he was arrested again for drunken driving in Milwaukee County. It was treated as a first-offense violation, and his license was suspended for six months. Subsequently, he also was cited in 2011 for failing to install an ignition interlock device in his car and paid an $883 fine.

Wiken said the latest OWI offense has been a life-changing experience. He said he has changed his drinking habits, and he and his family have returned to their Catholic faith.

"I respect the law," Wiken said. "It was a bad mistake, bad judgment on my part."
There are a couple of issues regarding his accounting of the events in Hawaii and his second charge in Wisconsin.

Per Hawaiian court records, there were actually two cases, both for drunk driving, filed against him on the same day. There was the case that he told about that was dismissed because of repeated hearings in which the officer failed to appear or the state was not ready to proceed. In the second case, it was finally dropped by the prosecutors four years later, most likely due to the fact that Wiken was no longer in Hawaii. He was busy getting arrested and convicted in Milwaukee for DWI.

Which leads to the other curiosity.  His DWI case had appeared on CCAP, but then suddenly disappeared off website.

Wiken claims that he turned his life around after the third or fourth arrest.  But apparently that only holds true, if he is to be believed, to his drinking.

From all accounts, Wiken still has a vast lack of interpersonal skills and is generally not liked by many people that know him, including his own family.

Like I said, the dark money people backing Wiken were either very desperate or just did a very poor job vetting their candidate.

As someone who is not thrilled with the whole streetcar proposal myself, I can see no reason why the voters shouldn't continue to support Terry Witkowski, who has shown himself to be a very good representative of his constituents and has consistently done what is in his district's best interest.

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