G. John Ruffolo will be on Kenosha election ballot despite felony conviction

NOW: G. John Ruffolo will be on Kenosha election ballot despite felony conviction

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) --Longtime Kenosha Alderman G. John Ruffolo is still on the ballot for Tuesday’s race to become the 4th District’s next alderman.

However, last week he pleaded guilty to felony stalking of his ex-girlfriend from 2013 to 2017.

Kenosha City Clerk Debra Salas says she’s never encountered a situation like this before but has consulted with state officials to see how the city will proceed if Ruffolo receives the most votes.

In 2017, Ruffolo was charged with stalking after a criminal complaint says he made several phone calls and drove past the home of his former girlfriend multiple times from 2013 to 2017.

Despite the fact that Ruffolo is now a convicted felon, which makes him unqualified to serve in the eyes of the law, Salas says the city’s hands are tied because he entered the race before his conviction.

 “We can’t remove his name from the ballot because he did qualify as a candidate through the nomination process,” Salas said. 

Salas says if Ruffolo does garner more votes than his opponent Holly Kangas, the Common Council will have to step in.

“Common Council would have to declare a vacancy and then fill that by appointment until we could have a special election,” Salas said.

Kangas has never held political office before but says she decided to throw her hat in the ring in Kenosha’s 4th District aldermanic race because she wanted to see change.

“I think I could bring a really fresh perspective,” Kangas said.

She says Ruffolo was not the only motivating factor in her decision to run for office.

“Obviously, that factored into my decision to run,” Kangas said. “Again, I don’t want to harp on it, but i wanted a change in our district.”

While Kangas says she hopes she would be appointed by Common Council if Ruffolo receives the majority of the votes, but her strategy is to avoid that scenario.

“I’m still out there,” Kangas said. “I’m still pounding the pavement. I’m talking to people. I’m doing everything a candidate needs to do to win.”

CBS58 reached out to Ruffolo’s attorney for comment, but haven’t heard back yet.

CBS58 also went to Ruffolo’s home, but no one answered the door.

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