Robert Redford raises money for Feingold as right unleashes attack ads

Scott Bauer, AP writer

Hollywood star Robert Redford is making a plea for donations lower than the average price of a movie ticket to help defeat Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.

The plea comes as a right-wing super PAC said it planned to launch a new half-million dollar attack ad portraying Democrat Russ Feingold as weak on national security.

The pro-Johnson super PAC Let America Work has spent about $417,000 on the race so far. In total, outside groups have spent about $5.8 million on the race, based on the Center for Responsive Politics’ tally. Of that, about $4.8 million has benefited Johnson compared with about $1 million for Feingold.

The ads come 10 weeks before the Nov. 8 rematch between Johnson and Feingold. They’re timed to take advantage of the long Labor Day weekend, which is  when most voters really begin to focus on the election.

Wisconsin’s Senate race is one of the most closely watched nationally as Democrats see an opportunity to pick up a seat as they try to reclaim majority control. A poll by the Marquette University Law School released earlier this month showed Feingold, a former senator, ahead of Johnson 6 points among registered voters and 11 points among likely voters. The next Marquette poll is due out tomorrow.

Redford, an Academy Award-winning actor and director who portrayed a U.S. Senate candidate in the 1972 film The Candidate, has been a longtime Feingold supporter. He campaigned for him in Wisconsin in 1998 and this year he asked supporters to send as little as $3 to help send Feingold back to the Senate because he stands up for economic justice and working people.

The Redford campaign plea comes even as Feingold has been branded as a hypocrite by Johnson for breaking a 1992 pledge to take the majority of campaign donations from Wisconsin donors.

National security will be the focus of the newest ad in the race coming from the Let America Work political action committee. The group’s senior adviser Curt Anderson told reporters on a conference call that it would spend about $500,000 on the spot that’s running statewide for 10 days starting Friday.


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