Wednesday, February 27, 2008

GOP Handler Biting Other Republicans In High Court Race

Supreme Court candidate Michael Gableman's campaign has been firing broadsides on numerous fronts in recent weeks and two longtime Republican Party soldiers are among the hits.

One of the targets of Gableman's Republican campaign manager Darrin Schmitz has been the Wisconsin Judicial Campaign Integrity Committee. The State Bar group was created to police the honesty of the candidates' comments, advertising and other campaign activities.

Schmitz says some comments in a series of emails among committee members in December and January shows the committee is a bunch of liberals who support incumbent Justice Louis Butler in the race. Schmitz says the emails disparage him and other Republican supporters and suggest strategies for pressuring Gableman to sign the committee's clean campaign pledge.

Ironically, the emails Schmitz cites came from the eight-member committee's two Republican members at the time - former GOP state representative and retired appellate court judge David Deininger and Republican campaign strategist Bill Kraus. Deininger has since left the committee, citing his workload as a member of the state Government Accountability Board.

Kraus served in the administration of former Republican Governor Lee Dreyfus between 1979 and 1982 and is a longtime Republican strategist. Before serving as an appeals court judge from 1996 through January 2007, Deininger was a Green County circuit court judge for two years and a Republican member of the state Assembly for eight years.

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