No holds are barred in the Wisconsin recalls — even the down-ballot races for state Senate. A national GOP group is sending a volley of mailers into one key race, including one key piece that graphically depicts a physical attack on a woman, and suggests the Democrat in the race is directly to blame for the criminal’s presence on the streets.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, a national group that focuses on down-ballot state races, has targeted the 21st District recall race, where Republican state Sen. Van Wangaard is being challenged in a rematch with Democratic former state Sen. John Lehman, whom Wangaard beat in the 2010 Republican wave. The RSLC told the Huffington Post that the mailer was sent to 10,000 homes.
The mailer depicts a woman being assaulted by a man behind her, with the assailant putting his hand across the woman’s mouth. “You’re not SAFE,” it says, “Thanks to JOHN LEHMAN.”
So is the mailer meant to depict a sexual assault?
“It’s a depiction of a crime taking place,” RSLC spokesman Adam Temple told TPM.
To view the mailer, click the thumbnails below:
Another mailer, which Temple confirmed to TPM has also gone to about 10,000 homes, uses the rhetorical device of a burning $100 bill to attack Lehman for a variety of tax and fee increases:
The bill referenced in the crime-themed mailer, AB 75 from 2009, was the biennial state budget for 2009 and 2010. It included a program to allow some prison inmates to earn time off their sentences for good behavior, or be released for health reasons, with the intention to save money to deal with the state’s deficit following the financial crisis, and to help them better re-assimilate into society.
In the controversial implementation of the program, one of those released was a woman who had been convicted for reckless homicide in a stabbing incident. In 2011, Walker and the Republican-led legislature repealed the program.
On Thursday, Lehman released a statement:
“These types of low-down dirty tricks are unfathomable. What does this group from Virginia know about Racine? Van Wanggaard is sitting on his hands while this out-of-state, corporately-funded special interest group uses misleading attacks on policies they know nothing about. I think it just shows that Republican Party leaders see the writing on the wall and they are willing to do anything to intimidate voters.
“Just days before this mail piece was found, I received the Kenosha Professional Police Association Board of Directors endorsement. It is laughable that this out-of-state, corporately-funded special interest group thinks I’m not a strong enough advocate for cost-effective corrections policies that fully value public safety - when our community police associations have endorsed my run for Senate rather than former police officer Van Wanggaard’s.”