A national conservative group is airing a new television ad in the final days of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race slamming Appeals Court Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer as a liberal supported by “radical, out-of-state special interest groups.”
The Republican State Leadership Committee says the TV ad attacking Neubauer and supporting her opponent, Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn, is part of a seven-figure effort that also includes advertising online, through the mail and on radio.
The more than $1 million effort in outside spending comes at a crucial time for Hagedorn as outside groups supporting the liberal-backed Neubauer have outspent those backing Hagedorn by a 14-to-1 margin, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
Groups backing Neubauer have spent at least $1.2 million backing her, while those supporting Hagedorn, chiefly the conservative Americans for Prosperity, have so far spent $87,381 on mailings, canvassing and door hangers.
The new Republican effort could help level the playing field for Hagedorn as Neubauer’s campaign also has raised more money. Over the complete course of the campaign, Neubauer has raised about $1.7 million and Hagedorn brought in about $1.3 million.
Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now, which tracks TV ad spending, has so far identified about $500,000 that Republicans have spent on broadcast television in the Milwaukee, Green Bay and Wausau media markets. The ad is running on cable statewide.
The TV ad from the GOP group’s Judicial Fairness Initiative slams Neubauer and thanks voters for choosing President Donald Trump and the conservative U.S. Supreme Court he helped shape via his judicial nominations.
The ad warns that out-of-state special interest groups are spreading false attacks against “conservative, rule-of-law judge” Hagedorn, “just like they did against Justice (Brett) Kavanaugh.”
Kavanaugh, who was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court in October, faced a barrage of criticism, particularly from Democrats and groups on the left, after Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor of clinical psychology, accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her while the two were in high school.
Hagedorn has faced criticism from several groups who have knocked him for his views opposing gay marriage, which have been the subject of attack ads against him.
The narrator then calls on conservatives to stand together and make a plan to vote next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the liberal Greater Wisconsin Committee, which has so far spent at least $835,000 on Neubauer’s behalf, released two new ads: one slamming Hagedorn for being a board member of a school that bans gay students and teachers, and another knocking him for being a “political insider.”