Ron Johnson Launches Divisive, Deceptive Campaign (5/7/2010)

May 06, 2010

Multimillionaire Republican Candidate Hires GOP Hatchet Job Operative Responsible for the Most “Highly Offensive and Deliberately Misleading” Attack Ad in State History

MADISON — Ron Johnson told voters this week all they need to know about what kind of campaign he intends to run for U.S. Senate. Johnson, a multimillionaire, Tea Party activist made his first campaign move by hiring the Republican political operative who produced the most “highly offensive and deliberately misleading” political ad in Wisconsin history. Johnson’s first hire is Darrin Schmitz, who is responsible for the notorious ad on behalf of Mike Gableman’s 2008 campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court.


An independent group that monitored the state Supreme Court race, the Wisconsin Judicial Campaign Integrity Committee said that the spot was “in the offensive, race-bating style reminiscent of the Willie Horton ad from the 1988 presidential race.” In fact, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is still deciding what sanctions to take to resolve the ongoing ethics complaint regarding Schmitz’s ad. 


“Ron Johnson told voters a lot about what kind of campaign he is going to run, but more importantly he told voters a lot about himself,” said Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, “It’s clear that Johnson is willing to put his own wealth behind a divisive and deceptive campaign meant to serve himself, not the people of Wisconsin.”


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called Schmitz’s ad “purposeful distortion” and said it was “unworthy of any campaign.” In the ongoing Wisconsin ethics complaint case against Schmitz’s ad, Gableman’s attorney,James Bopp defended the “right to mislead voters in campaign ads,” saying, “I don’t think misleading is something good, (but) it can’t be sanctioned.”


The Racine Journal Times wrote that “Gableman’s attack ad essentially linked four true statements that, taken in their totality, ended in a lie.”


“The people of Wisconsin are going to question Ron Johnson’s judgment and his values when the first thing he does is hire a hatchet job operative who has a history of peddling divisive lies,” Tate said.