With just over a week to go before election day, Congressman Steve Kagen is making a late donation to his own campaign. The Appleton Democrat trails Republican challenger John Gard in the fundraising race. On October 15th, Gard had $486,000 on hand, compared to $193,000 for Kagen. To help bridge that gap, Kagen gave his re-election campaign $180,000 of his own money. "Apparently, this is Kagen's effot to sort of catch up, in the last week of the campaign," says Professor Michael Kraft, the chair of the political science department at UW Green Bay. "Early polls showed Kagen ahead, and perhaps the race is narrowing, or perhaps Kagen just doesn't want to take a chance, that Gard will spend quite a bit more money than he has available."
Kraft says Kagen doesn't necessarily have to use that money, and on a daily basis, campaign staffers will likely evaluate how much of it they'll need. When Kagen first ran for office two years ago, the allergist largely self-funded his campaign through nearly two million dollars in contributions. "Kagen's the incumbent, but he won very narrowly last time, by about one percent, or 6,000 votes," notes Kraft. "Even though Democrats are favored this year, this race has been close all along. The only poll I've seen did put Kagen ahead, and that was about a month ago. It's a little hard to tell now." The $180,000 dollars is the first donation Kagen has made to his re-election bid.