The Republican Governors Association is stepping in to help Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) early in the election cycle, launching its first attack ad against Democratic challenger Mary Burke on Wednesday.
The Associated Press reported that the RGA is spending six figures on the ad, which will air across the state on both cable and broadcast networks.
The ad accuses Burke of being implicated in outsourcing jobs to China through the company she led, Trek Bicycle Corp. It also ties the candidate, a former Wisconsin commerce secretary, to job losses during former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration.
"Mary Burke’s campaign for governor has been based on her experience as a senior member of a job-killing, outsourcing, budget-busting, big government administration that represents the failed policies of the past," RGA spokeswoman Gail Gitcho told AP. "Voters had enough of the Doyle/Burke agenda, and now Wisconsin is on the right path under Governor Scott Walker."
Joe Zepecki, Burke's communications director, said in a press release Monday that the RGA's ad buy indicates that Republicans are in "panic mode" and are trying to "distract from Walker's failure to create the jobs he promised in Wisconsin."
"Scott Walker's Governors Association is clearly panicked at the realization that they're running against a proven job creator," Zepecki wrote. "According to the latest data, there were 84,000 more jobs when Mary Burke was Secretary of Commerce than Wisconsin has under Walker. Burke's family business, Trek Bicycle, employs nearly 1,000 workers right here in Wisconsin and pumps over $100 million into the state economy each year. Over the top negative attacks don't change the reality facing Wisconsin's middle class - they can't get ahead because of Scott Walker's failures."
A Marquette University Law School poll released in January shows a close race between Walker and Burke, with the governor holding 47 percent support and Burke at 41 percent.