Wisconsin’s Democratic race for U.S. Senate got a jolt Wednesday as Alex Lasry launched two 30-second TV ads that leaned heavily on his connections to the Milwaukee Bucks.
His campaign said Lasry was “the first Democratic Senate challenger in the nation to begin such an effort” with the ads placed on broadcast, cable and digital. The campaign did not release the cost of the buy, but it marks a significant push to introduce Lasry to the wider Wisconsin electorate.
And yes, the NBA championship trophy recently won by the Bucks makes a brief appearance in one of the spots, titled “A building that works” and focused on Fiserv Forum.
Lasry is on leave from his executive job with the Bucks, a team owned by several major investors including the candidate’s father, billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry.
“It’s more than a basketball court that nurtured a championship,” a narrator says in one of the spots. “For Alex Lasry, building Fiserv Forum was about creating opportunity.”
Lasry then says: “We said workers come first, $15 an hour pay and 80% of the building materials are going to come from Wisconsin.”
The $15 claim was a minor controversy earlier in the election. Lasry’s campaign was forced to acknowledge that it was misstating some of the details in the deal he and others helped negotiate with arena workers. The $15 wage kicked in in 2020, not when the arena opened in 2018.
Mike Tate, senior adviser with the Lasry campaign, issued a memo to accompany the ads. He revealed that since Lasry entered the race in January, “the campaign has raised over $3 million from thousands of people.”
Fundraising totals for Lasry and all the other candidates in the third quarter are due to be filed next week.
In summing up the two ads, Tate wrote: “We will introduce Alex as the candidate who doesn’t just talk about good union jobs, but has created them, as someone who has taken real action to combat climate change, someone who is an unflinching champion of voting rights, and who will be focused on raising wages so working families have more money in their pocket.”
Lasry is among the runners in a crowded Democratic field that includes Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has not yet said if he’s going to run for a third term next year.
The primary will be held Aug. 9, 2022.
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