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Monday, January 26, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 11.0° F  Fair
The Daily
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Arthur Kohl-Riggs and supporters hope to send recall message to Dems and GOP alike
Kohl-Riggs: 'I plan on continuing to commit myself to exposing Scott Walker's lies.'
Credit:Nayantara Mukherji

Arthur Kohl-Riggs won only 3% of the votes in the Republican primary election against Gov. Scott Walker, but he's still celebrating.

"This is my victory party, and I'm declaring victory" he said to a group of supporters at the Fountain in downtown Madison. "A major goal of my campaign was to use my candidacy as a platform to highlight and expose Scott Walker's hypocrisy. He claims to be something he's not, and he spends millions of dollars lying to the people of Wisconsin and misinforming the populace."

Kohl-Riggs, who branded himself as the "real Republican," said he based his campaign on the values of Republicans like Robert La Follette and Abraham Lincoln. He even grew his beard out to highlight his physical resemblance to Lincoln.

"I'm the real fiscal conservative," Kohl-Riggs quipped, referring to the fact that he garnered over 18,000 votes with only $3,000 in campaign spending, as compared to Walker's $20 million. "Walker spends multiple dollars for votes, and I get multiple votes for dollars."

Kohl-Rigg's party drew an eclectic group of supporters, including self-professed libertarians, socialists, independents and Democrats.

Jacob Goren said Kohl-Riggs represents "traditional" Republican values.

"If there was a Republican who went after big business the way Teddy Roosevelt did as a trust buster, if there was a Republican who was pro civil-rights, if there was a Republican like that, that would actually give pause to more Democrats of who they were voting for," he said.

Goren added that he voted in the Republican primary because polls showed that Tom Barrett would win the Democratic primary. Since he supported Barrett anyway, he saw voting as a chance to take a stand against Walker.

Other supporters, like Jacob Wischmeier, said he supported Kohl-Riggs in order to make a point to Republicans and Democrats alike.

"I wanted to send a message to the Democrats that being bold and taking a stance on something translates into votes," Wischmeier said. "I think Republicans should realize that their party is... completely corporately owned. They shouldn't fall for it. They should know better."

Wischmeier said he stayed away from the Democratic primary because he was sure his favorite Democrat candidate, Kathleen Vinehout, would not win. With nearly 99% of precincts reporting, Vinehout captured only 4% of the Democrat vote.

Bridgette O'Brien, who identifies as a "liberal libertarian," said she voted for Kohl-Riggs because he shares her commitment to environmental issues. She was not worried about missing a chance to vote in the Democratic primary because she's an independent.

Although Kohl-Riggs is out of the election, he said he plans to keep up the fight against Walker.

"I plan on continuing to commit myself to exposing Scott Walker's lies, to highlighting the hypocrisy of his rhetoric and exposing how his policies are failing Wisconsin," Kohl-Riggs said.

The crowd was appreciative, sending him off with a rousing chant of "thank you!"

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