A Wisconsin Republican congressman confirmed Democratic critics’ claims Tuesday when he pointed to the state’s new voter ID laws as a reason the Republican candidate will be competitive there in the general election. The candid assessment by Rep. Glenn Grothman, who supports Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for president, came during an interview with Milwaukee news station TMJ4 at the Cruz campaign’s victory rally Tuesday night. Asked by reporter Charles Benson why Cruz would be able to turn a reliably Democratic state like Wisconsin red, Grothman said: “Well, I think Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up. And now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.” Grothman pivoted back to praising Cruz and the interview moved on without any follow-up.
Democrats immediately jumped on the remark, citing it as confirmation of their allegations that voter ID laws pushed by Republicans are actually aimed at suppressing turnout, rather than at preventing fraud as advocates argue.
Martha Laning, chairwoman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, seized on the comments in a Facebook post. “Well there it is — If you can’t win Wisconsinite’s votes the fair and square way, you impose voter id to gain an advantage so you win,” she wrote. “I can’t believe this is the Wisconsin I grew up in. A Wisconsin that was fair and transparent and respected every American’s right to vote. So sad!”