Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser called on his Republican opponent George Brauchler this week to denounce an ad against him that calls Weiser a defender of a man convicted of pedophilia.

Weiser said the ad, run by the Republican Attorneys General Association, politicizes the legal profession’s obligations to uphold the constitution and mischaracterizes his work on a 2005 case.

“I believe it's dangerous and I believe it should be condemned as an attack ... particularly since George Brauchler has represented criminal defendants who have done pretty bad things, that doesn't make him a bad person,” Weiser said.

At issue is Weiser’s work on an appeals case 13 years ago. The Tenth Circuit asked Weiser to make a pro bono argument on whether a prison’s method for calculating “good time credits” for a convicted pedophile was constitutional.

Weiser stood up for the man’s constitutional rights, but said he wasn’t the man’s defense lawyer, and that he never defended the man in the case or condoned his crimes.

A bipartisan pair of former district attorneys roundly condemned the ad.

Brauchler said he had nothing to do with the ad, and so will not denounce something he can’t control. He also points out the ad is counter to his own message on the campaign trail against Weiser.

“The professor is wholly unqualified to be attorney general based on a complete lack of experience,” Brauchler said. “The ad that's being run is one that talks about a client he's had. I’ve been running around talking about the fact that he's basically had no clients.”

Brauchler points out that he, too, has been subject to negative ads that he calls inaccurate—including one produced by the Democratic Attorneys General Association that said he would fight against abortion rights.

Both candidates said they wish the messages coming from outside groups were about the actual qualifications of the job.

“It’s disappointing that we haven’t had enough discussion on the issues. And that the campaign against me isn’t about my issues on Roe v. Wade or the need to take on climate change or the need to take on the opioid epidemic,” Weiser said. “That’s the conversation I want to have.”

Brauchler echoed the sentiment.

“It’s a decision between an AG and an activist, the decision between someone with experience and someone who has been an academic,” Brauchler said. “I’m not interested in discussing things that I can’t control.”