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Campaign Ads From Both Burke, RGA Tout Cherry-Picked Numbers

Still from a campaign ad against Mary Burke by the Republican Governors Association
Still from a campaign ad against Mary Burke by the Republican Governors Association. Politifact ranked the ad's claim of "130,000 fewer jobs" as Mostly False.

Democrat Mary Burke is preparing to run her first TV ad in the race for governor to counter an ad launched against her by the Republican Governors Association. Both commercials make dubious claims about job numbers in Wisconsin.

Burke’s 30-second ad talks about her time running Trek Bicycles, but it pivots quickly from her own biography to talk about job numbers under Gov. Scott Walker.

“Under Walker, unemployment’s up, job prospects are down to 45th in the nation, and the layoffs continue,” the ad says.

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Some of those points are less controversial than others. The claim that job prospects are down refers to a Moody’s ranking last year. “Layoffs continue” cites reports of companies that are laying off workers.

It’s the unemployment claim that’s less clear, because the unemployment rate has steadily dropped since Walker took office. The Burke campaign said it’s comparing the 6.2 percent unemployment rate now to the 4.8 percent unemployment rate when Burke was the state commerce secretary during Gov. Jim Doyle’s administration.

The Republican Governors Association ad attacking Burke also talks about her time as commerce secretary.

“The Doyle-Burke Wisconsin? 130,000 fewer jobs,” the ad says.

That ad, however, cherry-picks job numbers from the Doyle administration, focusing only on the job losses in his second term and not on the job gains in his first. Burke served parts of both terms, but the RGA ad doesn’t reference the good numbers, nor does it mention that the job losses happened after Burke left office.