Monday, October 18, 2021

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 Award Winner

HomeBreaking NewsBREAKING: Ryan Owens Drops Out of Wisconsin Attorney General Race

BREAKING: Ryan Owens Drops Out of Wisconsin Attorney General Race

-

Last week, Wisconsin Right Now reported that a podcast that Professor Ryan Owens recorded at UW-Madison with notorious Never Trumper Charlie Sykes has mysteriously disappeared.

Ryan Owens has confirmed in a press release that he has dropped out of the race for Wisconsin Attorney General, citing family concerns.

The decision comes on the heels of Owens, a UW-Madison political science professor, facing criticism over four missing podcasts w/ Trump critics including Charlie Sykes as first reported by Wisconsin Right Now. Owens faced strong criticism from conservative talk radio hosts over those podcasts but also statements he previously made praising Gov. Tony Evers’ handling of the COVID pandemic (he said he misspoke in one of them).

Owens’ withdrawal from the race leaves one other Republican in the primary: Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney. The primary winner will take on Democrat Josh Kaul.

UW-Madison eventually unearthed three of the missing podcasts, which Owens recorded as director of the Tommy Thompson center on campus, but the Sykes’ podcast is still missing. It can be a crime in some circumstances to delete a public record, although it requires a showing of intent to defraud or injure. Owens’ surprise withdrawal, which comes after he dominated in campaign fundraising, so it shakes up the landscape considerably.

Owens statement reads:

Throughout this campaign I have worked to present an optimistic message for how we can improve our freedom and safety. I’ve talked about how we need to rise above politics as usual, protect the constitution and the rule of law, and help people retain greater power over their daily lives. So many people appreciated that message, and I truly appreciate their support.

The last few weeks have shown me that politics is even more disgusting than I expected. Having never run for political office before, I did not fully anticipate how disgusting it would get so quickly. You can be prepped for it, but until it happens you do not know the true impact. I could not have foreseen how much the attacks would affect my family.

Wrongheaded and false claims have taken a toll on my two boys and my wife. They are sick to their stomachs about some of the things people are (falsely) claiming. As many people know, one of my sons is autistic. He has taken these attacks particularly hard. And they are seriously impacting him.

Because I do not wish to put them through any more character assassinations I’m withdrawing my candidacy for Attorney General. I understand some will ridicule me for why I’m leaving the race, but this is the truth and my family has always, and will always, come first.

To be clear, I strenuously disagree with the recent attacks against me. They are wrong. Wrong on principle and wrong on substance.

I will always remember the support I received and will forever be grateful to those who gave so much to help. To the countless people who put their trust in me, worked hard on my campaign’s behalf, and propelled us to historic success I simply want to say thank you.

Last week, Wisconsin Right Now reported that a podcast that Professor Ryan Owens recorded at UW-Madison with notorious Never Trumper Charlie Sykes has mysteriously disappeared.

The 2019 conversation with Sykes is one of four podcasts that Owens recorded – including two with Never Trumpers and one with a professor whose syllabus contained negative comments about Trump – that vanished from the Internet. Three of the podcasts – with Scott Coenen, Mike Murphy, and Ken Mayer, were found in an internal file by UW-Madison.