• WisPolitics

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

 9:12 AM 

New Burke TV ad hits Walker on jobs pledge

Dem Mary Burke's latest TV ad slams Gov. Scott Walker for falling short on his pledge to create 250,000 new jobs in his first term, declaring he's "not working for you."

The spot opens with a clip of a 2010 Walker campaign ad in which he made the promise and then shows a clip of him in a news interview saying he "absolutely" wanted to be held to the pledge.

The narrator then says Wisconsin is "dead last" in the Midwest for job growth before showing a news anchor reporting the state lags behind most of the country when it comes to job growth.

"And those 250,000 jobs? Not even close," the narrator says before closing the spot. "Broken promises. Dead last in jobs. Scott Walker's not working for you."

-- By JR Ross

Monday, July 28, 2014

 10:09 AM 

Walker ad again knocks Burke over land purchase

Gov. Scott Walker's campaign today released a new TV ad that again criticized Dem rival Mary Burke over a land purchase while she served in the Doyle administration.

"As Jim Doyle’s Commerce secretary, Mary Burke wasted 12 and a half million dollars on a vacant lot, hoping to lure a company to Wisconsin to create jobs," an announcer says in the 30-second spot. "But the company had already laid off over 800 workers and said it had no plans to create jobs here."

The announcer then says the lot is still vacant, and that demands from the federal government to repay funding for the purchase means "Mary Burke’s boondoggle could cost taxpayers nearly $25 million."

It's the second ad this month from Walker to reference a 2006 attempt to lure Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories across the state line.

-- By Staff

Thursday, July 24, 2014

 2:47 PM 

Leibham releases new ad tying himself to Walker

State Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, has released a new ad in the 6th CD saying that he stood with Gov. Scott Walker against labor protests.

In a 30-second TV ad titled "Refused to Back Down," Leibham begins recounting the 2011 labor protests against Walker's collective bargaining cuts.

"We stood strong and passed historic reforms that turned Wisconsin around," Leibham said. "A budget deficit became a surplus, allowing us to cut taxes by $2 billion."

Leibham then says "Washington could learn a lot from Wisconsin" about lowering spending and taxes.

The ad is a contrast to Grothman and Stroebel's, both of which took shots at their 6th CD opponents.

-- By Jason Smathers

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

 2:26 PM 

Grothman releases new 6th CD ads following Stroebel hits

Just days after Duey Stroebel hit out at 6th CD competitors Glenn Grothman and Joe Leibham, Grothman has put out his own ads referring to the rest of the field as "weak-kneed politicians."

Grothman released a 30-second TV ad and a 60-second radio ad with similar themes. The TV ad starts out decrying the current "yes men" in Congress, before highlighting Grothman as someone who knows when its "time to say no."

"Because he has experience cutting taxes, taking on liberals, reducing welfare and has pledged to abide by term limits," the TV ad states. "So if you want another weak-kneed politician, vote for the other guys. But if you'd like a proven conservative who'll tell Washington 'enough is enough,' vote for Glenn Grothman."

The ad comes after Stroebel released dual ads that attacked Grothman and Leibham for their "billions" in spending while in state government.

-- By Jason Smathers

 12:39 PM 

Walker, Burke again close in Marquette University Law School poll

Gov. Scott Walker and Dem rival Mary Burke were again neck-and-neck in the latest Marquette University Law School poll.

The survey found Walker edging Burke 46 percent to 45 percent among registered voters, while Burke was up 47-46 among likely voters. Both gaps were well within the margin of error.

In May, the race was tied at 46 among registered voters, while Walker had a 48-45 edge among likely voters.

In the latest poll, Walker had a slight edge among independents 45-44, compared to 49-40 in May.

The poll was conducted July 17-20 after both campaigns went back on the airwaves. The survey included 804 registered voters, of whom 549 said they were likely to vote in November. The margin of error for the full sample was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, while it was 4.3 percentage points for likely voters.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 11:02 PM 

Dem AG candidates talk diversion, rehabilitation programs during panel discussion

The three Dem candidates for attorney general focused on the need for more state diversion and rehabilitation programs while meeting Tuesday night for a panel discussion.

State Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne started on the theme of rehabilitation programs early in the discussion with a question on the heroin epidemic sweeping the state. Both said the fight against heroin must extend further than prosecuting those people already involved with the drug. They said it should include getting to the root of the issue through community-supported diversion programs that educate families, children and other community members like doctors.

For Wisconsinites who have only been addicted a short time, the candidates pushed programs to give them the tools and community support to change course.

That way, Ozanne and Richards said, the problem will be prevented instead of dealt with after severe damage has already been done.

“We are not going to prosecute our way out of a heroin epidemic, period,” Ozanne said, adding that in his experience those people who are prosecuted for heroin deaths end up being those who loved the victim most. “We are ripping families apart through prosecution.”

The candidates also pitched similar programs as solutions to the high number of incarcerated blacks and Native Americans in Wisconsin, as well as a way of curbing domestic abuse and problems stemming from mental illness.

Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ joined Ozanne and Richards in emphasizing a conscious effort to prioritize keeping non-violent and first-time offenders in programs where they have access to help. Keeping people in their communities to overcome past issues can be a great solution, Happ said.

The candidates are three weeks away from the Aug. 12 primary with the winner moving on to face Waukesha County DA Brad Schimel, who is running unopposed on the Republican ticket.

All three Dems acknowledged there were many cases, such as those of repeat and violent offenders, where prosecution was the best option and each made it clear they would not be afraid to follow through on such cases.

While the candidates agreed on almost every question posed during the panel put on by the Democratic Party of Dane County, they did take several opportunities to differentiate themselves from the others in the field.

Happ reminded the audience she has served six years as DA in a traditionally GOP county, proving she can get votes from both Republicans and Democrats. She also said her background as a woman allows her to approach issues differently than any other candidate running for the office, specifically when searching for remedies to the “war on women.”

“I nearly died in childbirth, and I know that these are personal decisions that must be made by women with their family, their physician and their faith, not by politicians in Washington, D.C., and Madison,” Happ said.

Ozanne said his background running day-to-day operations for the state’s Department of Corrections as well as his experience as DA for the state’s second-largest county gives him the institutional knowledge to run a major agency like the Department of Justice. He also told those at the event he was the only Democratic candidate who could say he truly had extensive experience as a prosecutor, downplaying Happ’s six years in a less populated county.

“Experience and leadership matter. The other side is coming at us with a Mack truck,” Ozanne said about Republicans and Schimel. “The last two [Democratic] candidates were beaten back because they had a lack of prosecutorial experience. I am the one with the leadership and experience.”

Richards, who served 15 years in the state Legislature and has his own private legal practice, said he has based his candidacy on the “need to protect Wisconsin families” through better enforcement of issues like domestic abuse, child pornography and women’s rights. He also said he stands apart from the other candidates because of his legislative experience developing statewide policy as well as with his focus on background checks for all gun sales in the state, something he said no other candidate in the race has explicitly sought.

The candidates also differed slightly in their explanations of the attorney general’s role for the state. For Ozanne, public safety is No. 1 and the ability of the attorney general to choose which cases to pursue or let sit is important given the impact it can have on citizens’ lives.

Richards stressed using the position to set up statewide standards and to use the power of the position to help rural counties that have law enforcement problems but do not have the money to fix them.

Happ tapped into her image of a candidate for both sides in saying the main role is to push divisiveness and politics away from decisions and make sure the state is following through on constitutional standards.

Aside from those relatively minor deviations, each candidate put forward similar ideas to promote marriage equality, pour more resources into fighting drugs and domestic abuse, and defending voting rights and the environment.

The Democratic Party of Dane County held a straw poll at the event, which Ozanne won with 19 votes. Happ came in second with 16 and Richards was third with eight.

-- By Jack Casey

 12:28 PM 

Walker again slams Burke on outsourcing in new TV ad

Gov. Scott Walker's latest TV ad again slams Dem rival Mary Burke over outsourcing by Trek Bicycles.

The spot opens with the narrator saying Burke has been "trying to sell us on her experience at her family business." The narrator adds Burke "forgot to mention that they make 99 percent over their bikes overseas, in places like China, where her company has outsourced jobs for years."

"Yet while Burke’s company makes almost all their bikes overseas, taxpayers have had to foot the bill to retrain the Wisconsin workers who lost their jobs here," the narrator says.

The narrator closes the spot by saying, "Mary Burke. Job creator? Not so much."

It's the second straight ad from Walker's campaign that accuses Burke of outsourcing jobs while at Trek and the fourth straight negative ad from the guv since he went back on the air in June.

-- By JR Ross

 11:30 AM 

Walker reports spending more than $320,000 on defense attorneys

Gov. Scott Walker's campaign spent nearly $321,000 on defense attorneys during the first half of 2014 as prosecutors pursued a John Doe probe alleging his campaign and conservative groups coordinated during the recall elections.

According to Walker's latest campaign finance report filed late yesterday, Walker's campaign paid $212,884 to the law firm of Sidley Austin in Chicago, $83,079 to Biskupic & Jacobs in Milwaukee and $25,000 to Michael Steinle in Milwaukee.

The expenses were all listed as "legal fees-compliance" on his report.

A federal judge has ordered a halt to the John Doe probe -- a decision now under appeal.

The latest outlay to defense attorneys is on top of prior legal expenses Walker reported to deal with an earlier John Doe probe.

Walker closed a legal defense fund last year he used to cover costs associated with that investigation, which ensnared former aides and associates while he was Milwaukee County exec. He transferred $447,602 from his campaign fund to that account and sent another $200,000 to Michael Best & Friedrich for "legal compliance."

Walker's filing with the GAB also shows he raised almost $4.6 million from out-of-state donors during the period, more than half of the almost $8.3 million he pulled in overall.

That includes more than 31,000 individual contributions from out-of-state donors.

Walker's campaign touted that 76 percent of the 65,000 contributions he received overall for the period were $75 or less.

Still, 106 donors gave him the maximum contribution of $10,000, netting him more than $1 million.

Those hitting the max contribution included: casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major GOP donor; Michael Bidwill, president of the NFL's Arizona Cardinals; real estate mogul Donald Trump; and oil magnate Boone Pickens.

Dem rival Mary Burke collected 20 donations from those who gave her the maximum, according to her report.

That includes her brother John Burke, president of Trek Bicycle; Milwaukee County Exec Chris Abele and his wife, Miriam; and UW Regent and Madison attorney David Walsh.

Burke collected 22,469 donations from out-of-state donors totaling $1.1 million, a little less than one-third of the $3.6 million she raised for the six-month period.

-- By Staff

 9:30 AM 

Kramer paid $10,000 in legal fees during first half of year

Former Assembly Majority Leader Bill Kramer reported paying $10,000 in legal fees to the firm that partially represented him in his sexual assault case.

In his July campaign finance report, Kramer reported two $5,000 payments to Gatzke and Ruppelt SC in late March and early June. Attorney James Gatzke initially represented Kramer following his arrest by Muskego police, but Kramer has been represented in court by Eduardo Borda of Magner, Hueneke, Smith & Borda. Gatzke has a pending complaint against him from the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

The report also showed that two Assembly GOP campaigns returned contributions from Kramer's campaign. The campaigns of Reps. Robert Kulp and Jessie Rodriguez both returned $500 each in contributions in early February, a month before sexual harassment claims led Republicans to remove Kramer from his majority leader post.

-- By Staff

Friday, July 18, 2014

 8:21 AM 

Burke TV ad slams 'outrageous attack' on Trek

Dem guv candidate Mary Burke’s campaign is out with a new TV ad calling a recent Walker spot a “fairytale” and an “outrageous attack on a great Wisconsin company.”

"The real story? Mary Burke helped build Trek into a company where almost a thousand Wisconsin people go to work every day, making more bikes in the U.S. than anyone," an announcer says in the ad.

Walker's spot, unveiled Wednesday, features a woman reading a book to two children, which says Mary Burke made "millions by sending jobs overseas that could have been done in Wisconsin." The spot does not mention Trek, but one page of the book shows a cartoon of a factory with bikes outside.

The announcer in the Burke ad says “it's Walker's agency that gave millions in tax breaks to companies that relocated jobs overseas -- another reason Wisconsin's dead last in Midwest job growth.”

The campaign says the spot will air in the Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Wausau and Eau Claire/La Crosse markets starting today.

-- By Staff

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

 7:29 AM 

New Walker TV ad slams Burke for outsourcing jobs

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign released a new TV ad today charging Dem rival Mary Burke made millions by “sending jobs overseas that could have been done in Wisconsin.”

It’s the third straight negative ad from the Walker campaign since going back up on the air in mid-June.

The spot shows a woman reading a book “Mary Burke’s Overseas Adventures” to two children. The book includes a series of caricatures of Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive.

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your fortune grow?” the woman says to open the book. 

She adds while flipping pages, “By making millions of dollars ... Sending jobs overseas that could have been done in Wisconsin ... To countries where women and children might work up to 12 hours a day, earning only two dollars an hour.”

The ad does not mention Trek, but one page shows a cartoon of a factory with several bikes outside.

After finishing the book, the woman says, “To be continued.”

“You mean there’s more?” the boys asks.

“Yes, so much more,” the woman says.

-- By JR Ross

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