On Madison’s West Side, Green Party candidate Jonathan Dedering is suddenly looking like a competitive candidate for the Wisconsin State Assembly after two weeks of a strangely unfolding story regarding his only opponent, incumbent Democrat Brett Hulsey.
Brett Hulsey (pictured to the right) defeated Ben Manski two years ago in one of the closest partisan races for a Green across the nation, 49% to 31%. In office, Brett Hulsey became infamous during the Madison protests and capital building occupation when he encouraged protesters to leave the Capital building and go home. Fortunately the protesters laughed him off and continued to occupy the Capital building for months, sparking a summer of protests across the nation.
In the latest turn of events, Brett Hulsey plead no contest to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from an incident on the 4th of July involving a 9 year old boy. At a neighborhood beach, Hulsey had apparently knocked the boy off his intertube, splashed him in the water, then once out of the water took pictures of the boy on his iPhone. When confronted by the boy’s father Hulsey left on his bike.
Once the Isthmus broke this story last week, Brett Hulsey appeared on “Sly in the Morning”, a popular left wing radio show in Madison on WTDY, and seemed to confuse the story further, even suggesting that police may have falsified information in the police report. Sly summed it up by describing Hulsey as “creepy”, a sentiment that was conveyed several times by witnesses in the official police report as well.
WTDY reports from some of the more controversial parts of the police report:
During an interview with police, the grandmother of the 9 year old boy said she spoke with Kevin Briski at the Madison Parks department after the incident, so city lifeguards could keep an eye out for Hulsey. She went on to say that Briski told her Hulsey’s behavior had made many employees at the Parks department uncomfortable in the past at different public beaches in Madison.
She said Briski also told her that Hulsey had been in a “somewhat stalking situation” with a lifeguard at Olin Park. A city staffer told WTDY News that the Parks department has no written incident reports involving Hulsey.
Hulsey this week decided to tell WTDY that he believes he he is a victim of a conspiracy led by none other than Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and the Madison Police Department, claiming that police left out “my side of the story” from the police report, and suggesting that the Mayor is getting him back for supporting his opponent for Mayor two years ago.
Again from WTDY:
MADISON — (WTDY) Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is not commenting on remarks made by Rep. Brett Hulsey in which he accused the mayor of plotting against him. At a press conference about the city’s capital budget on Wednesday, Soglin refused to answer questions about Hulsey.
“I’ll probably have some kind of comment in about a week or two,” Soglin said. “But I just want to give him more time.”
Last week, Hulsey pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge for engaging in what police called “horseplay” with a 9 year-old boy at a Madison beach. Hulsey was accused of overturning the boy’s raft, knocking him into the water. The boy’s grandmother, who witnessed the incident, told police that Hulsey started to splash the boy, then took pictures of him.
But Hulsey insists police detectives intentionally left much of his side of the story out of the official police report.
“One of the police officers was not taking notes, the other one had his notebook closed,” he said.
He also claims that the boy’s grandmother, who works in the mayor’s office, lied to police as part of Mayor Soglin’s plot against him. He says Soglin is only trying to get back at him for supporting Dave Cieslewicz in last year’s mayoral race.
Brett Hulsey’s only opponent this November is the Green Party candidate Jonathan Dedering, 26, who was heavily involved in the Madison protests last year and occupation of the Capital Building. Dedering was involved with the Autonomous Solidarity Organization that was born from the Capital Occupation, and later the Occupy movement in Madison. Dedering is now seeing Brett Hulsey signs coming down in neighborhoods and is working to distribute his own.
If Brett Hulsey’s behavior continues to alienate voters, Jonathan Dedering could become the first third party candidate to be elected to the Wisconsin State Legislature since 1944.
You can donate to Jonathan Dedering’s campaign at his website.