With the recall election for the governor’s seat just over one month away, campaign spending for the race has already surpassed the most expensive elections in the state’s history.
Mike McCabe, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group, said he believes this will continue to be a record-breaking year for campaign spending.
“The election in 2010 was the most expensive to date with $37.4 million spent,” McCabe said. “This recall election has spent $42 million before the primary. We are expecting anywhere from $60 to $80 million spent by the end, doubling the previous record.”
According to campaign finance reports, Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign has raised over $25 million so far, while his Democratic challengers have only raised just over $2 million combined.
Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk has raised about half of that with just over $1 million with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett following close behind with more than $800,000, according to finance reports.
McCabe said he had never seen this level of out-of-state money come into a Wisconsin election. He said a noticeable amount used to be 10 percent from out-of-state whereas Walker’s campaign reports show 60 percent of individual donations from outside Wisconsin, totaling $13.7 million, according to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign’s finance reports.
The Democratic candidates’ out-of-state funding is less than Walker’s, with former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk’s campaign raising 46 percent from out-of-state sources and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett with 13 percent coming from out-of-state, according to the reports.
Tom Evenson, a spokesperson for the Walker campaign, said the amount of money raised is a testament to Walker’s vision.
“This is clearly an issue that the state and the nation care very deeply about,” Evenson said. “We wouldn’t have to raise a dime if the Democrats had not forced this recall election on Walker’s successful reforms.”
The primary for all six recall elections is today, with the general election June 5.