David VanderLeest, the Republican running against state Sen. Dave Hansen in a July 19 Wisconsin recall election, denies reports that he smokes crack cocaine, Talking Points Memo reports. VanderLeest (pictured here with Gov. Scott Walker) has been dogged with questions about his personal finances and domestic violence charges.
“I read a social services report yesterday that says I smoke crack,” VanderLeest recently told Wisconsin Public Radio host Joy Cardin. “None of it’s true. I don’t smoke rocks, and that’s the truth.”
Crack cocaine is frequently referred to as “rock” by users. VanderLeest said the allegation that he smoked crack comes from a report filed by a social worker in relation to a domestic violence charge filed against him. VanderLeest has been arrested at least four times, including for child abuse and beating up his ex-wife. He has pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct.
VanderLeest said the debate over his police record and shady past is being used by Democrats to distract voters from the party’s stances on such issues as abortion, gun rights and documentation for immigrants.
VanderLeest did acknowledge that he was “drunk and under the influence, and I flipped out” at the time of a domestic abuse incident. He’s refused to discuss whether he’s paid taxes or received financial assistance from the state.
"You know, I sleep well at night, and that's the reality of the situation," he said.
The GOP’s preferred candidate to run against Hansen was state Rep. John Nygren, who failed to submit the 400 valid petition signatures required to get him on the ballot. Republicans gathered 18,000 signatures to trigger the recall election.