Democrats hoping to unseat Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin got some bad news yesterday. While their two potential candidates raised about $1.7 million between them in the latest reporting period, Walker lapped them six times over:
Gov. Scott Walker raised an unprecedented $13 million since mid-January — an unheard of figure in races for governor.
The money he has raised in the last three months is more than the $12 million he raised in 2011, which was itself a record at the time. …
His fundraising dwarfs what his chief Democratic rivals have raised this year. So far this year, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk raised $1 million and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett raised $750,000.
How did Walker raise so much money? Thanks to the state laws governing fundraising and recall elections, Walker was not subject to donation limits until the recall election got certified by the state. That happened in late April, and now Walker has to work within campaign finance limits. Interestingly, Walker needed to spend most of the money — about $10 million — before certification, as the Huffington Post reports:
A big part of the reason that Walker raised such a huge sum is that he was able toraise unlimited contributions while Democrats were gathering and processing signatures to trigger the recall. That whole phase ended March 30. Money raised in excess of normal limits during that period also had to be spent, which is why Walker went through $10 million in that window.
Traditionally, contributors can give a maximum of just $10,000 to a gubernatorial candidate. Democrats were forced to follow those rules during the whole reporting period.
Even so, Walker has nearly $5 million in his recall/general election warchest heading into the recall, almost three times as much as the two Democrats combined. Falk and Barrett will have to spend a considerable amount of those funds against each other in the upcoming recall primary. Meanwhile, Walker will continue to raise funds and increase his advantage.
The numbers pose an embarrassing question for Democrats and unions attempting to dislodge Walker from office. How can a governor as unpopular as his opponents claim Walker is raise so much money so quickly to defend himself, while the two Democrats and their union allies raised so little? Polls show Walker consistently leading his two potential challengers in the recall, but the fundraising disparities suggest that the polls may be underestimating Walker’s strength.
Meanwhile, EAG News has a fascinating look at the core issues of the recall, and how the Left in Wisconsin embraces chaos as a political strategy:
EAGnews.org has produced an exclusive video report disclosing who and what were behind the massive demonstrations, the occupation of the Capitol in Madison, and extreme tactics employed to stop Walker’s reforms from being enacted.
Titled “Anarchy 101: How Wisconsin’s Left Embraces Chaos,” the report takes us through the protests, legal challenges and subsequent recall efforts of 2011 and 2012. It features Brett Healy and Brian Fraley of the MacIver Institute, Collin Roth of Media Trackers, an unidentified citizen journalist on the ground for many of the protests, and State Sen. Alberta Darling, a target of death threats, intimidation tactics, and a failed recall attempt last year.
It also features two teachers, including Kenosha’s Kristi Lacroix, and a school board member who would not be silenced by the radicals’ intimidation tactics and spoke to EAGnews about the benefits of Scott Walker’s reforms.
What’s the real core issue? As the video states in the end, it’s the removal of forced union membership. Choice has the unions running scared. Be sure to watch it all.
Update: The fact that unemployment has fallen from 7.6% to 6.8% in Wisconsin over the past year probably hasn’t hurt Walker’s fundraising, either (via Newsbusters).