Club for Growth Wisconsin Spending Big In Milwaukee County Judicial Race

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker arrives to speak at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor,
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker arrives to speak at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., Saturday, March 16, 2013. It may seem early, but the diehard activists who attended the three-day conference are already picking favorites in what could be a crowded Republican presidential primary in 2016.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Club for Growth Wisconsin is spending big in a Milwaukee County judicial race between Rebecca Bradley, an appointee of Gov. Scott Walker (R), and Janet Protasiewicz.

The group has spent $167,000 on the race in support of Bradley, Bruce Vielmetti of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports. Bradley's campaign has reportedly spent $114,000 on the race as of March 18, while Protasiewicz's campaign spent $117,000.

Bradley has been criticized by Protasiewicz as Walker's "hand-picked" candidate who has been involved with "extreme" conservative groups. In a March 22 release, Protasiewicz's campaign slammed Club for Growth as a "right-wing extreme group."

"It’s no wonder extreme political groups are supporting their political darling Rebecca Bradley after her track record working with organizations who make it harder to vote and giving large donations to help elect Scott Walker," Protasiewicz's campaign manager Marshall Cohen said.

Bradley has said she supports outside groups' involvement in elections, but said she has no control over what those groups do, according to the Journal-Sentinel.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

For the second year running, a Walker appointee faces a challenger running on the implication that the incumbent is barely more than a tool in the Republican governor's ideological plan for Wisconsin, an appellate judge in waiting.

The tactic worked in 2012, when administrative law judge Carolina Stark knocked highly regarded Walker appointee Nelson Phillips III from the bench.

Zak Williams, a Democratic political consultant who handled Phillips' race and is not involved in the Branch 45 contest, said partisan politics clearly had an impact on last year's judicial race.

"The same thing is happening again. This time, Walker's people don't want him embarrassed," Williams said.

Club for Growth has been heavily involved in a number of political races in the past, winning half of the 18 races into which it put money during the 2012 elections. Reuters reports the group is prepared to spend millions next year challenging Republicans "who it believes have violated its conservative economic principles."



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