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Sen. Ron Johnson: Smear job on Rebecca Bradley part of ‘nasty, vicious’ time in politics

By   /   March 17, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

MADISON, Wis. – A 2013 Gallup Poll found 64 percent of Americans would not like their child to make politics a career.

Is it any wonder when they see the sleaze peddled by liberal state Supreme Court candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg and her left-wing friends in her scorched earth campaign to beat conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley?

“If you ever ask yourself the question, how come we don’t have more good people running for public office, go no further than to take a look at what has been happening to Rebecca Bradley,” U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said.

And the state high court race isn’t even a partisan contest.

Johnson commented on the mud-slinging politics surrounding the state Supreme Court race Thursday morning during a conversation with Wisconsin Watchdog on “Madison in the Morning,” on NewsTalk 1310 WIBA.

Last week, critics say, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel hit a new low (and that’s no easy feat for the state’s largest newspaper) when it published a factually faulty story asserting Bradley had an extramarital affair.

AP file photo

MUDDY ENOUGH FOR YOU? The state Supreme Court race between liberal Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg and conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley has arguably hit some new lows in judicial politics.

RELATED: Rebecca Bradley: “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel should be ashamed of itself”

“As a private attorney, Rebecca Bradley represented in a child placement case the former chief operating officer of the law firm where both had previously worked — and with whom she acknowledged having had an extramarital affair,” the newspaper reported.

One problem: the salacious story is highly misleading. Bradley’s ex-husband in a statement says he told a Journal Sentinel reporter it wasn’t true. The newspaper printed it anyway, without including Gordon Bradley’s defense of his ex-wife.

“I am outraged by the story in the Journal Sentinel accusing my former wife of having an extra-marital affair,” Gordon Bradley said in a statement. “Not only is their headline a lie, they knew it before they printed it.”

“I told their reporter Patrick Marley that we were separated at the time of the relationship when he emailed me about it yesterday.  They didn’t even bother to print my quote. Running a false headline is both malicious and despicable,” he added.

Kloppenburg’s campaign has fully embraced the dirty political pool.

Supporters of the liberal appeals court judge also have seized on some embarrassing columns Rebecca Bradley wrote 24 years ago as a student at Marquette University. The anti-gay opinion pieces harshly condemned homosexuals with AIDS and criticized Americans who voted for President Bill Clinton.

Bradley apologized and said she was embarrassed about the 1992 columns. She said her point of view has changed significantly since then.

Bradley’s contrition means nothing to Kloppenburg, who has shown she will stop at little to fulfill her judicial ambition.

“There is no statute of limitations on hate,” her campaign said in a statement following the release of the columns to mainstream media by left-wing attack group One Wisconsin Now.

Kloppenburg knows just how close she was to realizing her Supreme Court dreams in 2011, when Justice David Prosser beat her in a closely contested – and expensive – race.

Johnson, who is in his own political battle against liberal former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, said it’s hard to blame people for resisting the call to politics.

“It’s a nasty, vicious process, which is why more good people don’t step up to the plate,” the senator said. “That’s bad for politics, it’s bad for our governance.”


M.D. Kittle is bureau chief of Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment Reporter for Watchdog.org. Kittle is a 25-year veteran of print, broadcast and online media. He is the recipient of several awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and others. He is also a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors. Kittle's extensive series on Wisconsin's unconstitutional John Doe investigations was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze. His work has been featured in Town Hall, Fox News, NewsMax, and other national publications, and his reporting has been cited by news outlets nationwide. Kittle is a fill-in talk show host on the Jay Weber Show and the Vicki McKenna Show in Milwaukee and Madison.