Legislative hopefuls raise more money than ever before.
Wisconsin legislative candidates raise about $3.5 million in campaign contributions in the first half of this year — a record in a general election year, according to a government watchdog. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s Mike McCabe says there’s no shortage of political money, despite the recession. “The political economy bears no relationship whatsoever to the regular economy. It has an inflation rate all its own. And it seems entirely recession proof.”
That’s significant, McCabe says, considering Assembly and Senate candidates are competing for that cash with candidates for statewide office, including attorney general and the first wide open race for governor in 28 years. McCabe says ordinary people aren’t the ones bankrolling the campaigns. “The money’s coming from a very elite cross section of the population. Less than one-percent of the population of the state is donating to these campaigns. These are people who haven’t been negatively impacted by the recesssion, they’re flush with cash, they seem to have a bottomless pit of money that they can dole out.”
The 92 incumbents running for reelection had four times more money in their coffers than their 122 challengers, according to the report ($3.35 million versus $814,711). Third party and Independent Assembly and Senate candidates raised less than $3,000.