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Democrats launch TV ad attacking Walker

Scott Bauer
AP Writer

Madison — The simmering 2010 governor’s race is moving quickly to a boil with a new television ad attacking presumptive Republican candidate Scott Walker.

The ad, slated to run Sunday on one Milwaukee station, comes a full 19 months before the election. Paid for by the state Democratic Party, the ad accuses Walker of “flip-flopping” on accepting federal stimulus money.

Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, is expected to seek the Republican nomination for governor next year. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle is widely expected to seek a third term.

Walker has spent months attacking Doyle’s budget proposal and the federal stimulus package.

Set to the theme for “The Benny Hill Show,” the ad shows alternating pictures of Walker set against his own comments and news articles related to his position on the stimulus money. There are no voiceovers.

Walker said the ad shows Democrats are worried about his potential candidacy.

“They’re afraid that I might be legitimately considering a run for governor,” Walker said. “They’d be afraid of the matchup I would offer.”

The ad will only run briefly and is being used to raise money, Democratic Party spokesman Alec Loftus said.

Shortly after announcing the ad, the party sent out a request for money linking to it.

Walker denounced the ad as misstating his position on the stimulus money.

“My position hasn’t changed since day one,” Walker said. “I’ve always said I’m going to protect the taxpayers.”

Walker said in January he wasn’t going to seek federal stimulus money and didn’t submit a list of potential projects to Doyle. In February, he wrote a column published in the Wall Street Journal that ran under the headline “Why I’m Not Lining Up for Stimulus Handouts.”

But last month, Walker released a list of $130 million worth of potential stimulus projects in Milwaukee County that he said meets his criteria for accepting the money. Walker said he’ll only accept the money if there is no long-term financial commitment, no required local match and no requirement for new operating or maintenance costs.

Walker said that has always been his position.

At the same time he released his list last month, Walker vetoed a county board resolution calling for aggressive pursuit of the stimulus money, calling the policy reckless and not in the best interest of taxpayers. A day later, the board overrode the veto and accused him of grandstanding as part of his expected gubernatorial run.

Walker hasn’t announced his candidacy but has raised $360,000 for a possible campaign. Doyle has raised $1.4 million.

Walker has criticized tax increases in Doyle’s budget and called for using some of Wisconsin’s share of the federal stimulus money to cut taxes. He also has called for eliminating sales taxes for the rest of the year and using stimulus money to fill that hole, instead of spending it on infrastructure or programs.

That idea has roundly been discounted as nearly impossible without an act of Congress.

If Doyle championed the idea, the sales tax cut could be a reality, Walker said.

Walker isn’t the only Republican considering a run. Former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann said Thursday it is highly likely he would run. A homebuilder with a business based in Pewaukee, Neumann said he’s not raising money yet, but he is speaking with potential supporters and plans to make an announcement by October.

Neumann stayed out of the 2006 governor’s race. Walker was an early candidate but dropped out when his money raising lagged behind eventual nominee and then-U.S. Rep. Mark Green.

Doyle defeated Green to win re-election.

Appleton businessman Mark Todd has said he will run as a Republican.

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