Moderate Plale tries to fend off attacks from liberal flanks

    Moderate Democratic State Sen. Jeff Plale is taking a beating from mail pieces that warn his constituents he is an "Absolute Conservative."
    Plale, who drew liberal fire for not doing enough to push through clean energy legislation in the last session, says he’s not going to get down in the mud.
    Plale faces a challenge from the left from Milwaukee County Supervisor Chris Larson in the Dem primary.
    Citizens for a Progressive Wisconsin (CPW) sent the mail pieces. One piece calls the South Milwaukee Dem "Absolutely" anti-women’s choice, anti-stem cells and anti-public safety. Another says he’s "Absolutely" with big oil, big business and GOP guv hopeful Scott Walker.
    A third mail piece features a race car on front and reads, "Race cars should have corporate sponsors … Senator Jeff Plale’s campaign should not." It also features Plale in a race suit with "sponsors" like lobbyists, energy utilities and big oil companies.
    Plale isn’t sure who’s behind the group, but he’s willing to guess.
    "Some environmental groups mixed in with a very large, wealthy tribe in Wisconsin," Plale said, referring to the Forest County Potawatomi. "I wouldn’t be surprised if there were Spencer Black’s fingerprints on it. I’m just speculating, but I’ve been around long enough to read the tea leaves."
    Plale and Black were two of four legislators to co-chair a committee charged with putting together a clean energy bill last session. The Potawatomi were prominent supporters of the bill, running TV ads touting its benefits.
    The bill never came to the floor. Black, a Madison Democrat not running for re-election to the Assembly, blamed Plale for its demise and has donated to the campaign of Larson.
    CPW spokesman Eric Hogensen says the group is a broad coalition of progressives, but declined to say whether the Potawatomi or Black are involved.
    “Citizens for a Progressive Wisconsin has received the support of lots of groups,” said Hogensen.
    See the mailers:

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