Look at that beautiful tapestry behind J.B!
Press release after press release. Editorials raise serious questions about Kratz-Van Hollen case, and Van Hollen launches statewide "Blame Victims First" campaign are only a couple of the many anti-Van Hollen titles that blare into my bloodshot eyes every morning when I check my email. The Democrats smell blood, and they are working hard to transform it into ink in the press and whatever ink's equivalent is in the blogosphere (html?).
As I've commented before, in the midst of a cycle which favors even the most unlikely Republican candidates, the Democrats have little hope of taking down the one GOP candidate who won a statewide contest in 2006, when Dems made large gains in the legislature and Doyle easily won re-election. Rather, they had little hope until Ken Kratz came along.
Like most other down-ballot races, not much is reported on the Attorney General's race. According to a source, Van Hollen's name recognition in the state is only 49 percent. However, the little that is reported can define the race and the candidates if the story is bad enough. That's what the Dems are hoping the Kratz story can become. If papers across the state begin connecting Van Hollen to the scandal, voters may even forgo partisan allegiance to vote him out.
The predictable Cap Times editorial that the Hassett campaign wants us to read about Van Hollen isn't proof that a tide is turning, but another one by the Oshkosh Northwestern may display a dangerous narrative developing against Van Hollen. TV reports would be even worse.
Van Hollen has never been an overwhelmingly popular AG to begin with. It's not so much that he could be brought down by the Democrats who detest him because of his lawsuit against the GAB or his refusal to represent the state in its defense of the domestic partner law. It's the Republicans and Independents who are rather indifferent or unaware of his tenure. According to a Democratic source, only 30 percent of voters have a favorable or unfavorable view of Van Hollen. With such low popularity, a bad media story could change it all for him.
Sexual harassment in a district attorney's office brings into question the the most basic premise of law enforcement: To protect the people. That a woman who sought protection from abuse was received so grotesquely by her would-be protectors will rightfully infuriate many voters. The bureaucratic mess that followed only exacerbates the disillusionment with the DOJ. If every incumbent nationwide is to be held responsible for an economy that is not recovering as quickly as we might hope, how can Van Hollen escape responsibility for his department's incompetence?
Nevertheless, the Wisconsin Professional Police Association released an intriguing ad touting the group's support for both Tom Barrett and J.B. Van Hollen.