The newly unsealed John Doe documents and subsequent headlines about Gov. Scott Walker being at the center of an alleged “criminal scheme” to circumvent campaign finance laws represents one of the most serious threats to Walker’s re-election yet.
With misleading headlines going national, Walker is going to have to quickly counter this narrative. And in the past 12 hours, Walker’s team has taken the steps to show that they are serious.
1.) Gov. Walker Issued his Strongest Statement yet on the John Doe: In a statement from his campaign, Walker took off the gloves and hit back at the John Doe prosecutors. “The accusation of any wrongdoing written in the complaint by the office of a partisan Democrat District Attorney by me or by my campaign is categorically false,” said Walker. “This is nothing more than a partisan investigation with no basis in state law. It’s time for the prosecutors to acknowledge both judge’s orders to end this investigation.” Throughout much of the John Doe investigation, Walker has given calm, measured responses. No longer. Walker also took to social media to push his statement and favorable quotes from the new documents.
2.) Major TV Ad Buy: Politico reported that the Walker campaign reserved $250,000 in air time for a 12 day television ad buy just hours after the document dump. This is a smart play. Walker’s got plenty of money in the bank and given that polls have tightened, it is time to spend some money. His first ad was positive. This ad takes the gloves off and ties Democratic opponent Mary Burke to Jim Doyle.
3.) Gov. Walker is Taking His Case National: Hours after the document dump and the headlines moved across the internet, Walker announced that he would join Fox & Friends early on Friday morning. The move allowed Walker to go on a friendly national network and state his case early enough in the morning to ensure proper national coverage.
Walker has had a tough week. Earlier he was fending off questions about gay marriage, The New Republic unleashed a hit piece, and arguing with National Review whether he criticized Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson at an out of state fundraiser. But those are nothing compared to the potential damage from these John Doe stories
Scott Walker is taking this document dump seriously. And that is good news.