National Democrats Storm Into Wisconsin Recalls With Tough Ad (VIDEO)

July 6, 2011 4:32 a.m.

National Democrats are playing hardball in the Wisconsin recall elections in the run up to the first election since Republicans eliminated some state worker collective bargaining rights at the urging of Gov. Scott Walker (R).

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the arm of the national party charged with boosting Democratic numbers in state houses, is going up with a TV ad defending one of their own in a Wisconsin recall contest. The spot takes no prisoners when it comes to the Republican candidate’s long court record, a tone that’s likely music to the ears of Walker’s opponents in the Badger State.The target is businessman and former Brown County, WI GOP leader David VanderLeest, the candidate Republicans have been (somewhat begrudgingly) stuck with to lead their effort to recall Democratic state Sen. Dave Hansen.

He’s one of the Democrats who fled Wisconsin at the height of the collective bargaining fight with Walker, shutting down the government for weeks and putting the national spotlight on Madison. Just as Democrats want to punish Republicans for voting for Walker’s plan with their recall efforts, Republicans want to teach those Democrats who left town a lesson, too.

But with VanderLeest on the ticket, that job is easier said than done. Eric Kleefeld reported the on the sordid details of the Republican’s past:

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel previously reported in May, when VanderLeest declared his candidacy (after having organized the recall effort against Hansen), he actually has an extensive court record – involving a bankruptcy, home foreclosure, an unpaid judgment of $30,000 with a bank, building code violations, and a misdemeanor conviction for disorderly conduct. (The latter conviction was part of a plea deal for a domestic dispute.)

Democrats are seizing on VanderLeest’s rap sheet in their new ad. Take a look:

The DLCC would not disclose the size of the buy, but a spokesperson told TPM it’s “significant.” Greg Sargent first posted video of the ad this morning.

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