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General Election Sprint Begins with Attacks

By John Forester | August 15, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

Both sides wasted little time in going after Dem guv nominee Tony Evers and GOP Senate nominee Leah Vukmir with new ads signaling the sprint to the November general election.

The state GOP announced a TV and digital ad accusing Evers, the state superintendent, of failing to keep students safe.

The spot follows a line of attack the state GOP has already used on Evers over a Middleton teacher who kept his license in 2014 after viewing pornographic images at work and showing them to his female co-workers. Evers has argued state law didn’t give him the power to revoke his license; the law has since been changed.

The state GOP said the initial buy was about $500,000 with more on digital. The liberal One Wisconsin Now, which tracks TV ads, said the party is spending $414,000 on broadcast TV in Green Bay, La Crosse/Eau Claire, Wausau, Madison and Milwaukee, as well as cable.

The narrator opens the spot saying Evers knew about a teacher viewing and sharing “pornographic material at school” as well as making “sexual remarks about the bodies of middle school girls.”

“Yet despite calls from parents and school officials, Tony Evers sided with the union and refused to revoke the teacher’s license,” the narrator adds.

The narrator then closes the spot, “As Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Evers is supposed to keep our children safe. But he didn’t.”

See the ad here.

The liberal American Bridge, meanwhile, is launching a digital ad that quotes Kevin Nicholson calling Vukmir a “career politician.”

The spot opens with text on the screen reading “Wisconsin Republicans say … You can’t trust Leah Vukmir.”

A voice says Vukmir is the “consummate insider who’s been running for various offices for 20 years.”

It then quotes Nicholson from various interviews saying the more career politicians who are sent to Washington, “the more problems we seem to have” and knocking Vukmir’s talk about her voting record in the Legislature, saying it’s “not enough.”

“That’s a career politician’s track record, and people should assume that it will go to Washington and become part of a system, which is filled with career politicians,” Nicholson says.

The final screen reads, “They don’t trust Leah Vukmir. Neither can Wisconsin.”

See the digital ad here.

Evers won the eight-way Dem primary with 41.8 percent of the vote, while Vukmir garnered 49 percent.

Evers’ nearest rival was Mahlon Mitchell, head of the statewide firefighters union, at 16.4 percent, while business consultant Kevin Nicholson hit 42.9 percent.

Nicholson benefited from outside spending by a series of independent groups that were backed by Illinois businessman Dick Uihlein.

One of those groups, Restoration PAC, congratulated Vukmir, but didn’t expressly commit to continue spending in the Wisconsin U.S. Senate race.

“We congratulate Leah Vukmir on a hard fought primary victory and urge all Republicans to unite behind her candidacy,” PAC founder Doug Truax told WisPolitics.com in a statement. “Restoration PAC remains opposed to ultra-liberal Senator Tammy Baldwin and we are committed to defeating her in November.”

Two lawmakers lost their primaries, while two survived intraparty challenges.

Attorney Marisabel Cabrera had 1,982 votes, or 64.1 percent, to 1,110 votes, or 35.9 percent for Dem Rep. Josh Zepnick, who was hit with allegations he kissed two women without their consent at Dem Party events.

In the 12th AD, MPS teacher LaKeshia Myers had 3,709 votes, or 59.3 percent, to 2,545 votes, or 40.7 percent, for Rep. Fred Kessler, D-Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, Reps. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, and John Spiros, R-Marshfield, survived their primary challenges.

See more in the Election Blog on yesterday’s races here.

More votes were cast in the Dem guv primary than in the GOP U.S. Senate race.

According to unofficial returns, 537,840 votes were cast for the Dem guv candidates.

Meanwhile, 442,567 voters turned out for the GOP U.S. Senate race. There also were more votes cast in the GOP guv primary even though Gov. Scott Walker had token opposition; 456,007 votes were cast in that race.

See full results here.

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