Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

If only there were more criminals in La Crosse


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Spivak and Bice are reporting Waukesha District Attorney Paul Bucher’s campaign for state attorney general is turning up the heat a little.

Bucher campaign consultant RJ Johnson pointed out that former federal prosecutor JB Van Hollen may not have been a very active federal prosecutor.

Van Hollen’s office tied for 84th out of 94 U.S. attorneys in the country in the number of criminal cases filed in fiscal year 2004. Among the jurisdictions with fewer criminal cases were Rhode Island, Alaska, Delaware, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Oklahoma’s eastern district.

I think Andy in Mayberry scored higher in the number of cases prosecuted, even excluding Otis.

To be fair to Van Hollen, I’m sure if Osama Bin Laden decided to go fishing in Ladysmith, his office would have been all over it.

Now Van Hollen’s campaign had an interesting response. They called Bucher’s campaign desperate. The quotes were,

“We expected Bucher to go negative, but I’m surprised that the desperation set in so early,” Fraley said in an e-mail reply to Johnson’s remarks. “This is a desperate move by a small desperate organization in its last throes of a campaign that could never get off the ground.

“Such distortions, vitriol and negativity say more about the status of their campaign than it does about J.B. Van Hollen’s record.”


“Things are not going well for (Bucher), so he’s desperate,” Fraley said, pumping up his guy. “It’s sad, but not entirely unexpected.”

Okay, but there’s not exactly a dispute of the record, just a reminder that Van Hollen had more prosecutions than Peg Lautenschlager, the previous holder of that office, but they still couldn’t crack the bottom ten.

So what is happening? Well, we’re counting down the days until the primary and the Van Hollen people did everything they could to pump up the financials before the last report including quite literally mortgaging the house – a legitimate tactic by the way. My guess is that the whole terrorism issue didn’t play too well and the Van Hollen campaign is now going for the “electability” strategy. They’re claiming they’ll have the necessary money, endorsements and party support to win, and that’s why they should win. (By the way, someone should tell them how well that worked for Bob Welch.) Now if they could only find that wedge issue…

Bucher’s campaign has discovered they have to take Van Hollen seriously. They’re going to take advantage of Van Hollen’s lack of name recognition and bang his reputation like a pinata. As RJ Johnson said, people are just starting to pay attention. Better to tell people who Van Hollen is before Van Hollen has a chance to.

Van Hollen may have taken the lead in cash on hand, but so much of that is going to have to be spent just building a brand. A good analogy would be if Johnson Wax decided to go into the soft drink business, and spend double the advertising money as Coca-Cola. So when Coke devotes half of it’s ad budget telling people that Johnson Wax soda tastes like furniture polish, who do you think is going to sell more soda?

Van Hollen’s current branding is, “I’m looking for Al Qaeda guy.” He might be “the cranberry guy” in time, but that doesn’t separate him from his opponent. It also hardly excites your typical south-eastern Wisconsin conservative.

Meanwhile, Bucher can continue his campaign on the immigration issue, 23% of the primary vote total, putting geography and name recognition on Bucher’s side. It’s going to come down to that final weekend and which side can motivate Republican voters.

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