Wisconsin recall candidates raise $1.2 million in July
By Greg Janetka and Geoff Pallay
MADISON, Wisconsin: Campaign finance reports filed with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board on Monday show the 12 candidates running in the six August 9 recalls combined to raise over $1.2 million during the Pre-Election period, which ran from July 1 to 25. Additionally, they have over $1.1 million cash on hand, and have a combined total for the year of more than $5.2 million in direct donations.
Sandy Pasch (D) raised the most during the period, topping $190,000, Sen. Randy Hopper (R) has the most cash on hand - just over $157,000, while fellow incumbent Alberta Darling (R) has raised the most during the year - $1.1 million. She is the only candidate to have topped the million dollar mark. Pasch and Fred Clark are the only Democrats who outraised their opponent during the period. Clark took in $67,000 to Luther Olsen’s $64,000. Polling has shown Dan Kapanke is the most likely of the six Republicans to lose their seat, yet campaign donations show his fundraising has continued to greatly outpace opponent Jennifer Shilling, with Kapanke raising $156,000 to Shilling’s $61,000.
While the candidates inch closer toward fundraising records for Wisconsin elections, the bulk of spending has been done by third party organizations. For example, We Are Wisconsin reported more than $1 million in donations just last week alone.
Looking at it by party, Democratic candidates during this period raised $573,136.41, while Republicans took in $663,782.82. During the last reporting period, which was before the primary elections, the same 12 candidates combined to bring in over $3.1 million in donations. To date, the 12 have spent over $4.2 million in the six campaigns. As we have previously noted, spending by the candidates is only a fraction of the money being spent on the races, with the majority coming from other organizations. Recent estimates project total spending for the 8 remaining recalls could be as high as $30 million. Last week alone, We Are Wisconsin reported spending over $2 million.
Here is the breakdown of fundraising reported by each candidate, broken down by district.
|Recall Fundraising Update as of July 25, 2011|
|District||Candidate||Party||Total funds raised for quarter||Cash on Hand||Total funds raised for year|
|2||Robert Cowles (I)||Republican||$64,824.55||$98,816.62||$166,996.22|
|8||Alberta Darling (I)||Republican||$165,155.26||$135,429.29||$1,123,573.59|
|10||Sheila Harsdorf (I)||Republican||$106,488.12||$97,343.15||$434,180.66|
|14||Luther Olsen (I)||Republican||$64,744.40||$97,431.57||$171,855.67|
|18||Randy Hopper (I)||Republican||$106,102.96||$157,351.25||$332,810.90|
|32||Dan Kapanke (I)||Republican||$ 156,467.53||$48,379.86||$882,381.01|
Citizen Action, a group which came under fire from the Republican Party yesterday, raised $44,710 during the period. The GOP wants the organization investigated for possible illegal collusion with Pasch’s campaign. Pasch is a board member of Citizen Action.
Media Trackers filed complaints with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office today, asking them to investigate possible illegal election and electioneering activity by the organization Wisconsin Jobs Now! WJN, which describe themselves as "a coalition of community groups, neighborhood associations, faith based organizations and labor united in an effort to bring good jobs to Wisconsin now," has recently held several get-out-the-vote "block parties" in Milwaukee, offering free food and free rides to the polls.
While it is legal for groups such as WJN to provide rides to voters and to provide food to discuss issues, a GAB spokesman yesterday said a combination of the two activities would constitute breaking the law. WJN spokeswoman Janet Veum said they were complying with the law since they did not require anyone to vote in order to get the free food and prizes that were given away.
The state Republican Party also filed a formal complaint with the GAB today, alleging WJN’s actions were illegal. Its complaint is tied to the complaint filed by the Party yesterday, seeking an investigation into possible collusion between Pasch and Citizen Action. Today’s complaint says that WJN and Citizen Action are closely linked, sharing a phone number and a key official.
Meanwhile, a formal complaint was filed by the Wisconsin Democratic Party against Americans for Prosperity over a mailing that gave an incorrect ending date for sending absentee ballots. The group sent absentee ballot forms to voters and indicated that votes for the August 9 election could be cast up until August 11. Today, AFP released a statement calling the error a "printing mistake." The group said it did not intend confuse voters with an incorrect date and had instead meant to include the mailings only for voters in the districts with elections on August 16.
- Recall of Wisconsin State Senators (2011)
- Wisconsin State Senate
- Laws governing recall in Wisconsin
- Redistricting in Wisconsin
- Advertisements in the 2011 Wisconsin State Senate recalls
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Darling tops $1.1 million in fundraising, nears $1 million in spending," August 1, 2011
- Sacramento Bee, "Parties spent $4.2M in 6 Wis. recalls," August 2, 2011
- Fond du Lac Reporter, "Spending on recall elections could go as high as $30 million," July 31, 2011
- WisPolitics, "WisGOP:Asks for investigation into Pasch’s Citizen Action connection." August 1, 2011
- Media Trackers, "Media Trackers Files Complaints with GAB, Milwaukee Co. DA over Wisconsin Jobs Now!, Urges Pasch and Darling Campaigns to Follow Suite," August 2, 2011
- Wisconsin Jobs Now, "About Us," accessed August 2, 2011
- TMJ4, "Group using free food to win votes?," August 2, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Combination of free food, rides to vote raises questions," August 1, 2011
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "GOP files complaint on parties that linked food, voting," August 2, 2011
- Politico, "Wisc. Dems accuse AFP of election tampering," August 1, 2011
- Politico, "AFP says misleading ballots were a mistake," August 2, 2011