Democrat Mary Burke released a new ad Friday accusing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) of using a Republican county chairman's "lies to attack" her. The ad includes images of swastikas, it says, the county chair posted to his Facebook page.
Burke's ad seeks to tie Walker to Gary Ellerman, the Jefferson County Republican Party chairman and a former human resources director at Trek Bicycle, the Burke family company where the Democrat used to work.
Ellerman was quoted in a report on the conservative Web site Wisconsin Reporter that cited sources saying Burke was fired from the company. In the report, Ellerman said, “She was not performing. She was (in) so far over her head. She didn’t understand the bike business." Burke denies being fired.
The narrator of the Burke ad says Ellerman is a "Walker campaign worker and donor who puts pictures like this on his Facebook page." Images of swastikas with surrounding text accompany the narration. One says, "When the German people first saw the swastika, it didn't represent EVIL. It was a symbol of HOPE and CHANGE," -- a reference to President Obama's 2008 campaign slogan.
The ad comes as Walker appears to have surged ahead of Burke, A Marquette Law school poll released Wednesday showed Walker leading Burke 50 percent to 43 percent among those likeliest to vote.
Walker's campaign condemned Burke's ad.
"This is a pathetic attack at the end of Mary Burke's flailing campaign," said Walker spokeswoman Alleigh Marre in response to the ad. "As Burke stoops to a new low with her vile attacks, Governor Walker is traveling the state sharing his positive vision for a second term."
In a statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Trek spokeswoman Marina Marich said that Ellerman was fired from the company for poor performance. Ellerman, the Journal Sentinel also noted, ran as a a feigned Democratic candidate in the 2012 state Senate recall election.