Election 2024

Republican campaign rocked by gay extortion attempt

Candidate Peter Schmidt
Candidate Peter Schmidt Photo: Campaign website

A self-described “strong conservative and Christian” Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s state assembly is speaking out after he says he was blackmailed by someone who had video of him performing oral sex on another man.

Peter Schmidt won the Republican primary for Wisconsin’s Assembly District 6 by 63 votes earlier this month. But just after the primaries were held, news about a criminal complaint he filed with the Shawano County Sheriff’s Department in 2019 broke.

According to the report, an employee of Schmidt’s family farm—Schmidt Ponderosa Farm—told Schmidt that he had a video of the Republican performing oral sex on a man and that he would send the video to Schmidt’s family if he didn’t get $50,000. Schmidt negotiated with the alleged blackmailer and got the price down to $5,000.

He still didn’t pay the blackmailer and he told his family himself.

“I was the victim of a crime, but I’ve put the matter behind me and I’ve focused on my faith,” Schmidt said to WisPolitics, a local news site. “I’m a strong conservative and Christian, but there was a brief moment I struggled with my sexuality.”

“No one should be persecuted or smeared for their personal orientation.”

Earlier in 2019, Schmidt faced charges in connection to an allegation that he choked another worker at Schmidt Ponderosa Farm. He was sentenced to two years probation and was forced to take anger management classes and write a letter of apology to the victim.

Assembly District 6 is mostly rural land just west of the city of Green Bay. The area is highly Republican, giving Schmidt an advantage in the general election this fall as he faces William Switalla, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

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