Recall organizer suggests in Facebook posts she’s misleading media

MADISON – The woman leading the effort to get Democratic Gov. Tony Evers out of office claimed Monday she has enough signatures to force a recall election but also suggested in a Facebook group she was misleading media outlets and said she planned to “make up some crap” in an interview.

“I’m going to do an interview this afternoon and will probably make up some crap to tell them,” Misty Polewczynski wrote Monday on Facebook in an exchange about who should run against Evers. “I like when they look dumb. Plus they’ve drug my name through the mud.”

In an earlier post, she discredited figures she had provided to the Racine Journal Times.

“I would not pay attention to that number given to them!” she wrote to backers of the recall effort after one person noted a story on the recall effort got the number of signatures collected from Polewczynski.

“Sometimes any press is better than no press. But like we’d give that out?!”

Polewczynski, who was convicted of forgery, writing a worthless check and bail jumping 15 years ago, launched the recall effort in August because she didn’t believe Evers did enough in response to looting and arson in Kenosha following a police shooting.

She cited numerous other complaints about him, saying he’d gone too far by shutting the state down this spring because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Polewczynski deleted the post saying she was going to “make up some crap” after the Journal Sentinel asked about it. 

She had made the comment in a discussion that flowed when she posted the Journal Times story. Polewczynski wrote that she supports Jonathan Wichmann for governor but couldn’t speak for the group and maintained the media doesn’t understand the distinction between her support for him and the views of others in the recall group.

In an email to the Journal Sentinel, Polewczynski said she hadn’t lied about the number of signatures she had. The number keeps changing as more petitions are submitted, she said.

“I don’t think all group members realize how quickly the numbers grow. By the time the news reported it, it had already grown significantly. We under reported the number to begin with to account for what we thought would be challenged, so clearly that was no longer our number and we refuse to give the number that includes what we think will be challenged … that would make us look dumb,” she said in her email.

Polewczynski has until Oct. 27 to gather nearly 670,000 signatures to recall Evers and the same amount to recall Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. Getting that many signatures in two months is a logistical challenge any time, but is particularly difficult during the pandemic, when there are few public gatherings. 

Many Republicans have disavowed the recall effort, saying they should keep their focus on President Donald Trump’s reelection bid. 

State law allows Evers to raise unlimited sums from donors while he is under the threat of a recall. He took advantage of that to raise money for an ad he unveiled last week that skewers Republican legislative leaders for their lack of plans to deal with COVID-19.

Polewczynski told the Racine Journal Times that as of Thursday, her group had collected 623,000 signatures.

More recently, she told Wisconsin Public Radio, “I will not give out exact numbers as they change by the hour. We have surpassed the minimum required for both and are working on our goal of one million.”

Polewczynski told the Journal Sentinel on Monday the group had surpassed the number of signatures needed but would not provide a specific number.

“You guys always make us look stupid because you interview people and air it a week later when the information is no longer relevant,” she said when asked about the Facebook posts. “The news said for 3 weeks we had 275,000. It was accurate for all of an hour.”

When asked to provide a number of signatures as of 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Polewczynski said she had no clue how many signatures the effort has collected, but said it was more than what she needed.

“There are 4 bins of mail I have unopened and the proofreaders still have at least 10 boxes they haven’t gotten to yet. Of them all they could all be bad, I have no idea,” she said. “I also can’t have the current number getting out because we can’t afford to have people stop collecting the cushion! Evers will have a massive team challenging our signatures I’m sure.”

Contact Patrick Marley and Molly Beck at patrick.marley@jrn.com and molly.beck@jrn.com. Follow on Twitter at @patrickdmarley and @mollybeck.