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New ad attacks Gov. Tony Evers' response to Kenosha unrest

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Posted at 6:56 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 19:56:54-04

KENOSHA — Kenosha is still trying to recover from the destruction and deaths that followed the Jacob Blake shooting.

New political TV ads began running Tuesday from a conservative group called Empower Wisconsin that questioned Gov. Tony Evers' response to the violence.

"On the one-year anniversary of the Kenosha riots, it's time to hold Gov. Evers accountable for the destruction," said Empower Wisconsin spokesman Stephan Thompson.

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More than 50 Kenosha businesses were destroyed or damaged during three nights of violence last August .

Kimberly's business was hit by graffiti but escaped serious damage.

"Why isn't Gov. Evers sending the help? I didn't have an answer," said Kimberley in the 30-second spot.

In the new political ad, Kimberly criticizes Gov. Evers' response as he faces re-election a year from now.

"Why he didn't declare a state of emergency until the third day of violence still boggles my mind," said Kimberly. "People would still be alive and perhaps businesses that were 100 years old, would still be standing."

To understand what happened, here's a day-by-day timeline from our partners at PolitiFact Wisconsin.

On Sunday night, Aug. 23, Jacob Blake was shot. Wisconsin Emergency Management gives the go ahead for neighboring law enforcement agencies to assist local police. That night businesses were looted and vandalized.

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On Monday, Gov. Evers sends 125 National Guard troops to Kenosha, where another 100 local law enforcement personnel are on location. That night rioters set fires and downtown businesses were destroyed.

Tuesday, Gov. Evers declares a State of Emergency and doubles National Guard troops to 250, but Evers declines federal help from President Trump. That night, two people are killed.

Evers' office says the governor denied an offer to send Department of Homeland security staff, not additional guard troops.

On Wednesday, Gov. Evers accepts federal help, and FBI and U.S. Marshals support arrives. Evers increases National Guard troops to 500. Violence ends, but protests continue. By the end of the week, 1,500 National Guard troops are in Kenosha.

Gov. Evers' campaign called the new ads partisan attacks. "The truth is, Gov. Evers fulfilled every local request for state support, including having the Wisconsin National Guard troops on the ground within hours of Kenosha County's request," said Sam Rocker, spokesperson for Evers' campaign.

In June, Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser, a former Democratic state lawmaker, defended Gov. Evers' response in an op-ed piece in the Kenosha News.

"... the system worked exactly how it's designed to function, and Gov. Evers answered every call and did everything he could within his powers to assist Kenosha County in its time of greatest need," wrote Kreuser.

Evers is seeking re-election in 2022 after defeating Gov. Scott Walker in a very close election in 2018. Possible Republican challengers include former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Congressman Mike Gallagher in Green Bay and former U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson. Political newcomer Jonathan Wichmann has already declared his candidacy.

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