Four candidates remain after judge orders two off Milwaukee Co. Executive ballot

NOW: Four candidates remain after judge orders two off Milwaukee Co. Executive ballot

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It’s official. The race for Milwaukee County Executive is down to four candidates from six.

On Friday, a judge removed two former candidates from the ballot. And it’s definitely not the outcome for which they were hoping.

“It’s disappointing because Milwaukee County has a lot of struggles,” Bryan Kennedy said.

They fought hard, but now he and Jim Sullivan, are no longer an option for Milwaukee County voters.

“I set out to run for county executive because I believed we needed an experienced executive and unfortunately the voters are not going to have that option,” Kennedy said.

 County Judge Kevin Martens ruled that both men broke election rules by hiring the same people to get signatures.

“You’ve affected the will of the electorate. Those 5,000 electors want these two gentlemen on the ballot,” Kyle Engelke, Sullivan's attorney, told the judge.

With the invalid signatures removed, neither candidate had the 2,000 names required to remain on the ballot. Their attorney’s claimed their clients didn’t know.

“I agree with you, well that may be what the statute says but that’s not what it means,” Judge Martens said. “What precludes anybody or anyone taking any precautions to try to avoid those circumstances?”

Challenger Theo Lipscomb, who uncovered the issue, isn’t calling this a victory.

“I understand that they’re upset about being disqualified,” Lipscomb said.

He believes the rule of law won out, and voters still have choices.

“You have male and female, ethnic diversity, geographic diversity and certainly diversity of political thoughts and ideas," he continued.

Both Kennedy and Sullivan can appeal this decision. However, for the sake of the local election commission and voters, Kennedy told CBS 58 he likely won’t.

CBS 58 reached out to Sullivan for comment, but has yet to hear back.

The Spring Primary is February 18. The General Election is April 7.

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