PEWAUKEE, Wis. – School board races used to fly under the radar. Now, they’re the front lines of culture wars.
A Pewaukee business owner told FOX6 News he’s afraid of retaliation, but shared caller ID images and records of calls from a person who called himself “Cat Sak.”
“I think it’s going to affect the business there, if he continues to keep putting the signs up,” the caller said. “I don’t even know what else to say other than they need to come down, and if they don’t take them down, they’re probably going to get about a hundred more calls.”
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The owner told the caller that other candidates could put their signs up; the Waukesha Republican Party’s “WisRed” backs those candidates. Caller ID confirmed the same number called another Pewaukee business – Schulte’s Greenhouses.
“We’re nervous to talk. Other businesses have been, as well. I understand why. All the reasons,” Christine Wisniewski said. “We live here, we don’t just work here.”
Wisniewski and her husband, Franz, run Schulte’s Greenhouses. They originally allowed a friend to put up a village trustee sign, and another for school board. Then they got a call.
“When you work so hard at something, all day, every day, just to survive – not even to thrive, but to survive – and then to have someone call you at your home and your business and make you feel scared, that’s not OK , “Wisniewski said.
In Sussex, Hamilton School Board Member Gabe Kolesari has competition for the first time in 30 years, Tom Lodzinski. A now-deleted Facebook post from Lodzinski’s campaign asked: “What does Gabe Kolesari and the Waukesha Parade Murder have in common.”
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“I’ve never seen it this bad,” Cyclists said. “I was shocked.”
Cyclists planned a campaign event with progressive-backed Appeals Court candidate Judge Lori Kornblum, who several years ago worked under the Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. Chisholm came under fire over bail set for Darrell Brooks, accused in the parade attack, for a separate case.
“What does that have to do with running a school board?” said Cyclists. “Does that help kids? It helps kids in the wrong way, because you’re showing people how bad politicians can be.”
FOX6 called and emailed Lodzinski, but he did not respond.
FOX6 also called the number of “Cat Sak” and, and the person who answered said it did not prove it was her voice making the call. Because she is not accused of a crime, FOX6 is not using her name.
As the race pulls voters to a different side, they may wonder what it will take to come back together after the election.