Conservative group voices opposition to Vos’ sixth term as Assembly speaker

MADISON, Wis. — As Wisconsin lawmakers met inside the Capitol Tuesday afternoon to officially re-elect Robin Vos to lead the Assembly, a group of Republicans gathered outside the building to voice their displeasure with the longtime leader of the Legislature’s lower chamber.

Sixty of the 99 members of the Assembly voted to keep Vos in his role as speaker. Vos, who fended off a primary and write-in challenge from a Republican candidate backed by former President Donald Trump, now begins his sixth term as Assembly Speaker, making him the longest-serving speaker in Wisconsin’s history.

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Before lawmakers cemented Vos’ status as speaker, conservative activist Harry Wait took aim at the Rochester lawmaker.

“I mean, we may not end up with a confirmed speaker today, and we may,” Wait said. “Robin Vos is a very shrewd politician, he’s been there too long, he knows how to manipulate things.”

Wait faces charges of election fraud and unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identifying information after he reportedly admitted to fraudulently requesting absentee ballots for multiple people, including Vos, to demonstrate what he argues is a flaw in the request process.

RELATED: President of conservative group who fraudulently requested absentee ballot for Vos charged with election fraud

Speaking to reporters, Vos took aim at Wait and the demonstrators, whom he referred to as a “small fringe movement.”

“They clearly don’t represent a majority and they clearly are outside the bounds of where most Wisconsinites are,” he said, “so I choose to focus on the good people all around the state and in my district, who sent me back with the highest number of votes that I’ve gotten in the past 10 years.”

With a sizeable majority in the Assembly, it had been unlikely Vos would see enough Republicans defect to put his leadership in question. That’s in contrast to the battle playing out in Washington, D.C., as Republican factions spar over whether to name House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to the speaker role.

After three rounds of voting Tuesday, the House adjourned until Wednesday without naming a speaker.