Reality Check

Reality Check: Falk Shows Off Democratic Support In Ad

Ad Features Local Democrats Including Mayor Dave Cieslewicz

MADISON, Wis. - In a TV ad by Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, local Democratic politicians show their support of the challenger to incumbent attorney general, Democrat Peg Lautenschlager.

A groundswell of support from Democrats is a central theme in why Falk decided to take on the first-term incumbent.

But, a WISC-TV analysis, found not all prominent Democrats are backing the challenger.

In the ad, the local Democrats, like Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, state Reps. Mark Pocan, Sondy Pope-Roberts and Jennifer Schilling say Falk is the "best Democrat."

The argument is that Falk is needed because Democrats are worried they might lose control of the attorney general's office if Peg Lautenschlager is matched up with a Republican challenger. Lautenschlager's 2004 drunk-driving arrest is the reason many Democrats feel she's vulnerable.

But, WISC-TV found some Democrats have stuck with Lautenschlager, like Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton. Also, both candidates can boast a lengthy list of union endorsements.

But what about electability?

Based on an August survey done by WISC-TV, both candidates have a reasonable shot at winning in November.

Lautenschlager led both Republican challengers, as did Falk. Falk's margin of victory was slightly higher in the survey.

But, it is worth noting, Lautenschlager is the only one with high unfavorable ratings.

The ad also touts Falk's experience as a environmental watchdog when she worked for 14 years in the Department of Justice as the public intervener.

"She [Falk] did her job so well they Republican Governor eliminated it," Pope-Roberts said in the ad.

WISC-TV finds that claim "needs clarification."

Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson cut the public intervener program, of which Falk was a part of, saying it was a harm to business and job growth.

The ad showing Democratic support is only running in Madison. Other parts of the state are seeing a hard-hitting Falk ad which brings up Lautenschlager's drunken-driving arrest.

"Our state's top cop -- convicted of drunk driving in a state car," said a narrator in the ad. "Fined for misuse of the car by the Ethics Board."

That ad is airing in Milwaukee, Green Bay and La Crosse but not Madison.

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