Leaders instead endorse Kristina Shelton, vice president of Green Bay Area School Board.
Assembly Democratic leaders used their power of endorsement Friday to throw their political support behind Kristina Shelton, a Democrat running to unseat the incumbent who sexually harassed a female staffer at a Madison bar last year.
The endorsement of Shelton over Rep. Staush Gruszynski, D-Green Bay, comes a month before the Aug. 11 primary and seven months after allegations against Gruszynski were substantiated. He was asked to resign, stripped of his committee assignments, and not allowed to meet with the party caucus.
In a WisconsinEye interview, Gruszynski recently suggested that if he was reelected, he would be welcomed back to the Democratic caucus and given back his committee assignments.
Assembly Majority leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh; Assistant leader Rep. Dianne Hesslbein, D-Middleton; and caucus chair Rep. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, pushed back on that idea.
“As leaders of the Assembly Democratic Caucus we take sexual harassment seriously,” the three said in a joint statement. “When it was substantiated that Rep. Gruszynski sexually harassed an employee, we called on him to resign … As leaders, we see no place for Rep. Staush Gruszynski in the Assembly Democratic Caucus now or in the future.”
Shelton currently serves as vice president of the Green Bay Area School Board.
“We endorse Kristina Shelton because of her qualifications and record of community leadership in the 90th Assembly District,” the leaders added. “We look forward to welcoming Kristina into the Democratic Caucus and working with her to advance Green Bay’s priorities in Madison.”