Wis. Democrats oust delegate over McCain support
Associated Press Writer
Wisconsin Democrats on Friday ousted a delegate to their national convention for saying she would vote for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain in November.
Embarrassed by a defection in their ranks, the Wisconsin Democratic Party's administrative committee voted 23-0 to strip Debra Bartoshevich of her status as a delegate to the Denver convention next month.
Bartoshevich was elected by party activists as a pledged delegate for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton from the 1st Congressional District in southeastern Wisconsin. But after Clinton dropped out of the race, Bartoshevich told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she would support McCain over Democratic Sen. Barack Obama.
The June comments from Bartoshevich, a 41-year-old nurse and mother of two from Waterford, were seized on by the McCain campaign as evidence of his appeal to former Clinton backers. Within hours, the Wisconsin Democratic Party passed a resolution at its state convention supporting a challenge of her credentials with the national committee.
The party's rules and bylaws committee said the state party could decide the matter, clearing the way for Friday's vote. Committee members agreed Bartoshevich had lost her privilege to be one of the state's 92 Democratic delegates because of her comments and affiliation with "Citizens for McCain," a branch of his campaign designed to recruit independents and Democrats.
During a teleconference before the vote, Bartoshevich asked the committee to allow her to attend the convention as a delegate for Clinton. She noted that she donated her time and money to Clinton and still believes the former first lady is the best candidate.
She said she made the comments backing McCain during an emotional time shortly after Clinton dropped out of the race and as a first-time delegate was unfamiliar with party rules. She said she had not decided who to ultimately support and was still open to backing Obama if he won her over. "I'd like to go to the convention and listen," she said.
She said her sister was a McCain supporter who signed her up for "Citizens for McCain."
"You reached right back and hugged them. I have a problem with that," committee member Dottie LeClaire responded.
The committee accepted a challenge that stated Bartoshevich violated rules requiring delegates to support the party's nominee and be faithful to the party. Bartoshevich will be replaced by Marilyn Nemeth of Racine, who finished second to Bartoshevich in the delegate election earlier this year.