A new commercial by a mysterious group supporting David Prosser is spending more than a million dollars in a week to saturate Wisconsin airwaves with commercials featuring a victim who was sexually abused by a pedophile priest.
Talk radio's Charlie Sykes thinks it's a game-changer. But it may be the last nail in the Prosser campaign's coffin.
The commercial features Troy Merryfield, who, with his brother, were victims of Father John Feeney, a Green Bay priest. The family told Prosser, then the district attorney, but he decided not to prosecute or even report the abuse to police, instead agreeing with the Catholic bishop to have Feeney transferred to another parish -- where he abused other children.
The case is highlighted in a Greater Wisconsin Committee commercial.
The Merryfield commercial, being aired by a group no one in Wisconsin knows anything about, called Citizens for a Strong America, has Merryfield on camera condemning the Greater Wisconsin ad and Prosser's opponet, JoAnne Kloppenburg, for refusing to ask the group to take the ad off the air. She has correctly said it is a First Amendment issue, and she has no control over advertising by issue advocacy groups.
"Now we're being victimized again,"Merryfield says in the commercial.
If he and his family are, indeed, being victimized again it is by the friends of David Prosser.
The Greater Wisconsin Committee commercial does not use the names of the victims or their photos. Although the case has been well publicized, the spot stays away from the victims and focuses on Prosser and what Prosser did or didn't do.
It is the Prosser camp that has further victimized Merryfield by putting him on camera and in the spotlight.
Conservatives have a history of doing that in Wisconsin campaigns. When he ran against Jim Doyle for attorney general, Jeff Wagner put the grieving father of a young girl who was brutally assaulted and killed on camera to attack Doyle for not supporting the death penalty.
Sharren Rose used the grandmother of the same young victim on camera to attack Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson for a Supreme Court opinion on the case,
Both times, the commercials boomeranged and did more harm to the candidates who aired them. Like the Merryfield commercial, they also came off as a little creepy.
Don't be surprised if Wisconsin voters once again reject that kind of manipulation of victims on Tuesday and vote against Prosser.
The Merryfield commercial also claims the Greater Wisconsin is false, when every word is true. It's documented here.
A second spot by Citizens for a Strong America, making false claims about Kloppenburg's handling of a case against a farmer, just got a Pants on Fire rating.