Scott Walker Targets Tom Barrett With Attack Ads

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) campaign on Thursday announced the release of attack ads against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, the two frontrunners in the Democratic primary to unseat Walker in the recall election. It appears, however, that Walker's campaign is airing only the Barrett ad on television in the state.

Ken Goldstein of Kantar Media CMAG, which tracks ad buys, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that none of the Falk ads are running, indicating that Walker believes Barrett will be the nominee or is the stronger of the two candidates and needs to be weakened.

"Advertising is a tell," said Goldstein.

"By only attacking Tom Barrett, Scott Walker is revealing that he views Tom as the more dangerous opponent, and he is concerned about facing Tom in the general election," said Barrett spokesman Phil Walzak in a memo to reporters. "Walker clearly sees Tom as the real challenge to maintaining his grip on power."

Falk spokesman Scot Ross told the Journal-Sentinel that the ads were just released, and the Walker campaign may change which airs on television.

In its statement announcing that it had "released" the two new ads on Thursday, the Walker campaign included no information on how much it spent on the ads or where the ads were running. When The Huffington Post asked spokesman Tom Evenson for this information, he replied, "The campaign will not be commenting on our current ad buy."

The Republican Governors Association is running ads against Barrett and Falk.

There are four Democratic candidates competing in the May primary. Barrett and Falk are considered the two frontrunners, with state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and Secretary of State Doug La Follette also in the race. The primary is scheduled for May 8. The general election is June 5.

In other Wisconsin news, the musician John Mellencamp said he won't stop Walker from using his famous song "Small Town" on the campaign trail, but he wants the governor to know his stand on labor issues.

Mellencamp's publicist Bob Merlis wrote Walker's campaign an email, according to the Associated Press, making clear the musician is progressive and supports collective bargaining and union rights.

"More often than not, it's right-wing candidates who use his songs, which is somewhat paradoxical," Merlis said.