State legislative races are heading towards another record year for fundraising.
In just the first six months of 2008, legislative candidates raised nearly $3.4 million. Mike McCabe with the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign says Democrats are leading the way, but Republicans aren't slacking off either. The GOP is still raising large amounts, but McCabe says big donors are starting to shift their attention to Democrats. He says most see that the landscape is changing, with the potential for Democrats to gain control of the Assembly this fall.
Fundraising totals are 17-percent higher than the same period during the 2006 election year. McCabe says a great deal of the money is going into hotly contested races. The numbers also show an advantage for incumbents, with candidates running for re-election out raising their challengers four to one.
McCabe says politicians are in an "arms race" for campaign cash, and the state needs to take a serious look at public financing to prevent locking people out of the process. He says people shouldn't have to be independently wealthy or willing to "take out a second mortgage on their souls" to run for office.