A record amount of money is spent in the 2008 legislative races.
Special interest groups spend an estimated $7.1-million in their efforts to win state Assembly and Senate seats.
"That's unprecedented. We've never seen that kind of special interest group campaign in state Assembly races before."
Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, says voters mostly heard from a handful of special interest groups from both sides of the political aisle — not the candidates — in the campaign. TV was the big expense, both network and cable.
"A lot of direct mail advertising. It's not as expensive as television, but a lot of money. A little bit of telephone calling … the so-called robocalls, but most of it was television, little bit of it radio, a lot of direct mail."
McCabe says the advertising was overwhelmingly negative. The watch-dog group says the biggest spender was Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), the state's largest teachers' union, spending just over $2-million.
The Government Accountability Board has already approved new rules requiring full disclosure of such campaign spending as well as contribution limits. McCabe says without implementing new rules, spending will only get worse because those in control of the legislature in 2010 will control legislative redistricting. Also, we've got a race for governor around the corner.
Democrats now control both legislative houses and the governor's office.