This Wisconsin Democrat Wants to Hand out KKK-Style Hoods at a GOP Convention

He’s calling them “Republican Party hats.”

Wisconsin State Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-WI) speaks to the press following the governor's press conference at the Wisconsin State Capitol on February 23, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.
National Journal
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Emma Roller
May 2, 2014, 10:59 a.m.

One Wis­con­sin politi­cian — who plans to run against Gov. Scott Walk­er for gov­ernor — is go­ing to great lengths to an­noy Re­pub­lic­ans in the state.

State Rep. Brett Hul­sey, a lib­er­al Demo­crat who rep­res­ents the Madis­on area, told re­port­ers he plans to bring Ku Klux Klan-style hoods to the state’s GOP con­ven­tion in Mil­wau­kee this week­end. He even tweeted a photo of the “hoods”:

(Brett Hulsey/Twitter) Brett Hulsey/Twitter

Does Hul­sey think he’s of­fen­ded oth­ers? He doesn’t seem to care. “What I find of­fens­ive is Gov. Walk­er and the Re­pub­lic­ans’ ra­cist re­cord,” he told the Wis­con­sin State Journ­al. “They’re the ones con­sid­er­ing the res­ol­u­tion to leave the United States.” (In­deed, state Re­pub­lic­ans will vote this week­end on a mo­tion to af­firm Wis­con­sin’s right to se­cede from the coun­try.)

When an As­so­ci­ated Press re­port­er asked Hul­sey if he was try­ing to be ser­i­ous, funny, or pro­voc­at­ive, Hul­sey answered, “All of the above.”

Hul­sey has be­come an em­blem of the state cap­it­al’s bizarre polit­ic­al mi­cro­cosm. When Walk­er in­tro­duced his anti-pub­lic-sec­tor-uni­on le­gis­la­tion in 2011, Madis­on res­id­ents rose up in force, oc­cupy­ing the state Cap­it­ol for weeks at a time and gen­er­ally mak­ing life hell for Re­pub­lic­an state law­makers. One pro­test­er mem­or­ably poured an en­tire beer on the state as­sembly lead­er’s head.

Hul­sey an­nounced he would run for gov­ernor on April 21. But so far, his cam­paign strategy can only be de­scribed as “clown­ish” — lit­er­ally. Last month, Hul­sey pledged to send a man dressed in a chick­en cos­tume around the state to har­ass his Demo­crat­ic primary op­pon­ent, Mary Burke, if she did not agree to de­bate Hul­sey.

Hul­sey has also called upon con­fed­er­ate Civil War reen­act­ors to show up at the GOP con­ven­tion to protest the se­ces­sion res­ol­u­tion. “I want to bid Gov­ernor Walk­er and the Wis­con­sin Re­pub­lic­ans farewell, and hope they en­joy the Con­fed­er­acy,” he said. “I have lived and worked in the South and would rather they leave Wis­con­sin than take us back­ward and turn us in­to Wis­sis­sippi.”

Des­pite these pub­li­city tac­tics, Hul­sey is not likely to gain much at­ten­tion from Wis­con­sin voters in the fall — not out­side of Madis­on, at least.

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