Anti-gay Republican launches campaign against Feingold

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Russ Feingold

Sen. Russ Feingold, pictured, “has been a huge advocate for the LGBT community,” says Fair Wisconsin executive director Katie Belanger.

A Madison-area real estate developer took his U.S. Senate campaign to the airwaves Feb. 10, launching a TV attack ad that depicts Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold as out-of-touch with Wisconsin voters.

In “Fed Up,” Republican Terrence Walker accuses Feingold of supporting a government “takeover” of health care, using angry footage from a Jan. 11 town hall meeting with the senator in Pewaukee. The ads were scheduled for broadcast through Feb. 22 in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Wausau.

Although Walker faces businessman Dave Westlake in the Sept. 14 primary elections, he does not mention his Republican opponent during the 30-second commercial.

A non-partisan analysis of “Fed Up” by AP’s AdWatch found it “misleading.”

“The ad, in both the narration and a graphic, refers to a ‘government takeover of health care.’ That's misleading, as neither the House nor Senate bill advocates that government take over health care,” AdWatch reported.

Feingold’s campaign called the ad “harsh and negative.”

Wall’s Web site indicates he’s building his campaign on a combination of current Tea Party themes and the “guns, God and gays” mantra that was popular in right-wing campaigns during the Bush era.

In contrast, Feingold has a liberal voting record on social policies and earned a 90-percent rating from Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard for his votes on LGBT issues during the 110th Congress.

“While we haven’t endorsed in this race yet, Sen. Feingold has been a huge advocate for the LGBT community,” said Fair Wisconsin executive director Katie Belanger. “We’ve taken important steps this last year with the domestic partner registry. Keeping the Legislature in pro-fairness control is absolutely critical for moving our positive legislative agenda forward, so we’re going to be working extremely hard over the next year to support candidates who have – or will – support the LGBT community in Wisconsin.”

Wall has come under attack from critics on both the left and right for using loopholes to avoid paying state income taxes for 12 of the past 15 years. Wall’s net worth is estimated at between $58 and $130 million.

Republican insiders are reportedly scrambling to find a stronger candidate to challenge Feingold. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson is among the party’s heavy hitters said to be weighing a run.

The general election is Nov. 2.

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