MADISON (WKOW) - It's been over a decade since Republican candidate for governor Mark Neumann served as a U.S. congressman. But a vote he cast in May 1998 is the subject of a new attack ad by fellow Republican Scott Walker.
"Scott Walker launched a very negative personal attack against us in this campaign," Neumann said on Tuesday.
Neumann served two terms in congress during the so-called Republican revolution in the 1990s. In 1998 he voted for a major transportation bill that called for over $200 billion in spending over a six-year period.
But Walker said the bill included $9 billion in wasteful spending, and that true fiscal conservatives voted against it.
"We say it is fair if you're going to look at what happened in the beginning of his time in congress, when he took on the establishment, to look at what happened at the end of his time in congress, when he started to act more like the rest of the status quo," Walker said.
But Neumann noted that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who was also in congress at the time, voted against the bill.
"If voting with Nancy Pelosi makes me Nancy Pelosi," Neumann said, "then that makes Scott Walker Tom Barrett."
Walker's response about Barrett's vote?
"He probably voted against it because it didn't have enough pork for his district," Walker said.
Neumann says he didn't believe at first that Walker was likening him to Pelosi, and that the comparison was unreasonable.
"This is a desperate negative attack on the part of Scott Walker to stay competitive in this race," Neumann said. "He's obviously falling behind and it looks to me like he's grasping at straws."
But Walker says it's all about drawing distinctions.
"In the last two weeks the question we hear the most is what's the difference?" Walker said
Back in 1998 the Republicans still controlled the house and Newt Gingrich was speaker. At the time, Pelosi wasn't in a leadership position, and the Democrats didn't retake the house until 2006.
The transportation bill that Neumann voted for passed 297 to 86.