Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus slammed Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke on Friday after she fired a consultant for copying several sections of her jobs plan from platforms of other Democrats.
"Mary Burke now has zero credibility as a candidate," Priebus said in a statement. "The entire premise of Burke’s campaign was built around her supposed ability to create jobs, but it turns out she couldn’t even create her own jobs plan without plagiarizing it from other candidates.
"Copying and pasting isn't how you create middle-class jobs or move Wisconsin forward, as Scott Walker has," Preibus said, referring to the Republican governor. "So with just seven weeks left before the election, Democrats are running a candidate that still doesn’t have a jobs plan of her own."
Joe Zepecki, campaign spokesman for Burke, announced the campaign had fired the consultant, Eric Schnurer of the Pennsylvania-based consulting firm Public Works, on Thursday night. Schnurer wrote duplicate sections of Burke's jobs platform, he said.
Schnurer had advised several other Democratic campaigns, the campaign spokesman said.
Zepecki said the campaign learned of the matter after a report by Buzzfeed.com.
It reported that sections of Burke's plan were identical to portions of platforms by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell in 2008 — and gubernatorial candidates Ward Cammack of Tennessee in 2009 and John Gregg of Indiana in 2012.
A message left for Schnurer at Public Works was not immediately returned on Friday. He also did not immediately respond to email and Twitter messages.
"The core strategies she outlines and the vision for Wisconsin's economy that she lays out is entirely her own, and stand unquestioned by anyone," Zepecki said. "They are informed by her time at Harvard Business School, through starting her own small business, serving as a top executive at Trek and leading the Wisconsin Department of Commerce."
Burke, who is in her first run for public office, is in a tight race with Walker, a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate who is seeking his second term. Recent polls have the race as dead-even.
She has built her campaign around her jobs plan, which she is offering as an alternative to Walker's approach. One of Burke's key arguments against the governor is that he doesn't deserve re-election because he has failed to live up to his promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs and Wisconsin is lagging other states in adding workers.
Walker and other Republicans argued Burke plagiarized the material.
"It's a sad day for Wisconsin when the Democratic nominee for governor misleads voters by offering a plagiarized jobs plan, in which she has staked her entire candidacy," said Walker campaign manager Stephan Thompson. "Wisconsin deserves better, and it's clear that Mary Burke cannot be trusted to lead our state."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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