Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race is heating up, and like so many (if not all) political battles, the messaging is playing a major part in the discord.
In a nod to incumbent Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the Washington Examiner published an article last week entitled: "Credit where due: Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin has powerful new ad on opioid addiction."
The Examiner piece by Emily Jashinsky pointed to the fact that "Baldwin's progressive politics might make her an ideological mismatch for the increasingly red state." But she's still a sitting senator, and a recent news release by one of her GOP opponents has raised some eyebrows.
In the release, Leah Vukmir's campaign shows an image of Vukmir next to recently confirmed CIA director Gina Haspel. The messaging toward her opponent is what drew attention.
Madison radio host Mitch Henck posted a recent video saying that:
"When a politician goes too far...it often causes a backlash and then sympathy for the opponent which is not the intent of the attack. Which is what Leah Vukmir, who is running in the U.S. Senate as a primary against Kevin Nicholson (did when) she had a news release last week that put a picture of Tammy Baldwin... with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 911 attacks with his disheveled look, and called it "team terrorist."
Henck said: "Guess what. That will create sympathy for Tammy Baldwin," calling it "the attack ad that goes too far."
But Vukmir uses video messaging to explain her own path, saying in a recent campaign ad that she was told in the past, "You'll never get anything done if you vote with the conservative wing of the party."
"I am the only clear, consistent conservative in this race. I have a track record that people know," she says. "We need a real conservative to do it.
Vukmir's opponent in the GOP primary, Kevin Nicholson, has also used video production to tell his story.
Nicholson's ad is darn good, too. It tells the story of his service in the military and the sacrifices he made — including hundreds of combat missions following the birth of his first child, and earning a Bronze Star. Within the clip, one of his superiors calls him "the best counter IED leader in all of Afghanistan."
But recorded coverage also gave (possibly) unwanted attention to Nicholson, during his campaign. Just a few weeks ago, Nicholson claimed that he was the true conservative in the race since he served in the military.
In an interview with WTMG radio, he said, "I'll tell you what, those veterans out there in the Democrat party, I question their cognitive thought process. Because the bottom line is, they are signing up to defend the Constitution that their party is continually dragging through the mud."
Baldwin is considered to be an incredibly vulnerable member of the Senate, and both of the GOP challengers vying for her spot are formidable.