Kaul launches first TV ad, blasts Schimel on rape kits
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Democratic attorney general hopeful Josh Kaul is launching his first television campaign ad. The subject: Republican incumbent Brad Schimel’s handling of Wisconsin’s backlog of untested rape kits.
Kaul has been hammering away at Schimel for months over the kits, saying Schimel took way too long to have them analyzed. In the ad set to air Tuesday statewide except in the Democratic stronghold of Madison, Kaul appears at a table with a box that he says is a sexual assault evidence kit. In one hand he holds a coin. He then criticizes Schimel for spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on commemorative coins to honor exemplary police officers while the kits went untested.
“This doesn’t fight crime,” Kaul says, gesturing with the coin at the camera. He then gestures toward the kit. “But testing the DNA in one of these can help catch a dangerous criminal.”
The spot is part of a $1.2 million buy, said Kaul’s spokeswoman, Gillian Drummond.
Thousands of sexual assault kits dating back to the 1980s sat unanalyzed on police and hospital shelves for years in Wisconsin because suspects were already identified, prosecutors felt cases were too weak to continue or victims wouldn’t cooperate.
Schimel received federal grants in 2015 to start testing the kits as part of a national push to identify potential serial rapists. The testing wasn’t completed until last month. Schimel has said it took time to inventory the kits and find private labs with the capacity to test them but Kaul has made the issue the centerpiece of his campaign nonetheless.
Schimel put out a new statewide ad on Friday that features female supporters. The spot features a series of shots of small groups of women, including two in sheriff’s uniforms. They take turns praising Schimel for keeping communities safe and for completing testing of the sexual assault kits.
Schimel spokesman Johnny Koremenos said the campaign is spending six figures on the ad.
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