The news that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) would retire from Congress at the end of the current session t has lead to a re-examination of other Republican campaigns vying for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.
While not getting many second look by the voters, Nick Polce is certainly getting them from political observers.
Polce may well be the textbook definition of a political carpetbagger as he is neither a native of the 1st Congressional District, nor of Wisconsin. A military veteran originally from Connecticut with family ties in North Carolina, Polce has openly admitted in media interviews one of his reasons for moving to the Badger State was to primary Speaker Ryan.
To call the Polce campaign a functioning political operation might be bit of a stretch. An examination of Polce’s most recent Federal Elections Commission (FEC) report shows that most of the campaign’s operating funds have come from a $25,000 personal loan from Polce himself. Fundraising has been anemic to almost non-existent, with the campaign raising slightly more than $7,000 during its existence and spending nearly three times that amount.
Cash on hand at the end of March was $8,192.
While there are some listed staffers for his campaign, the only regularly listed over $5,000 in “Staff Salary” and other expenditures since the start of the campaign is to a “Green Floors and More, Co.” of Racine, Wisconsin. Green Floors and More is a hardwood flooring and carpeting installation company founded in 2008 by William Litcher. In 2010, Litcher plead guilty to a number of felonies related to an OWI and hit and run. Here’s what the Racine Journal Times reported on the incident at the time.
William J. Lichter, 48, 4910 Douglas Ave., Racine, was reportedly driving an orange pickup truck about 11 a.m. Aug. 28, and tailgating another vehicle that was driving south on Highway 32 in Caledonia. According to the criminal complaint, witnesses said when the light at Douglas Avenue and Middle Road turned red, everyone stopped except the truck, which continued south without braking, and crashed into the other vehicle. Witnesses said Lichter fled the scene; someone followed and called police.
The driver of the struck vehicle had a cut on his foot, but refused treatment.
When police spoke with Lichter at his home, he reportedly admitted driving the truck and to knowing about the accident. He reportedly told the officer he decided to take his damaged truck home instead of remaining at the scene because his house was so close.
Lichter was then subjected to a field sobriety test which police say he failed. Subsequent blood alcohol testing found he had a BAC of 0.14; nearly twice the legal limit in Wisconsin.
While there’s illegal about using another business to act as his campaign’s administrative staff (if that is indeed the case here), one would be right in questioning Polce’s judgment in going with one owned by a formerly convicted felon. The public relations headaches alone would make more serious candidates look elsewhere.
With Polce’s slim campaign finances, he faces an uphill fight for the Republican nomination after the entrance of former Ryan staffer Bryan Steil into the race. Within days of announcing his candidacy, Steil’s campaign released fund raising numbers showing they had raised over $250,000 in only three days.
The primary between Polce, Steil, and the controversial Paul Nehlen is set for August 14