Wisconsin Assemblyman Mark Pocan (D) changed tactics in his race to succeed Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) in Wisconsin's second district, launching a new television ad that defends his record and seeks to discredit criticism leveled by his primary opponent.
State Assemblywoman Kelda Helen Roys (D) wasted little time before responding. Her campaign called the spot as a "false, negative attack ad" that went against Pocan's promise to run a clean campaign. Pocan had previously devoted his television advertising time to highlighting his accomplishments.
"He’s been telling voters that he was going to run a clean campaign and he caved," said Roys campaign manager Rick Coelho. "It fits in with our core message that he caves when the going gets tough."
The Pocan campaign said that it stands by the ad and responded to the Roys campaign in a statement to Roll Call.
"Our ad speaks for itself. Mark is running a positive campaign about providing real results to Wisconsinites," said campaign manager Dan McNally in the statement. "We hope it sets the record straight after Rep. Roys' attacks on his strong record as an effective progressive."
Experts said that Roys has been running an aggressive campaign in recent weeks, complete with negative ads to portray herself as the more progressive candidate. Roys' most recent ad accused Pocan of voting with Gov. Scott Walker (R), who is unpopular in the heavily Democratic district, in favor of tax breaks for large corporations.
The new Pocan ad pushes back against this accusation and describes the candidate's accomplishments as a legislator.