Report: Cost of Walker Recall Effort Topped Million

By: - July 26, 2012 12:00 am

Wisconsin’s unprecedented 15 recall races for governor, lieutenant governor and state senate in 2011 and 2012, prompted a record amount of campaign spending, according to a report released Wednesday (July 25).

Candidates, groups and committees spent a total of about .5 million on races, including about .5 million in support of Republicans, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a nonpartisan research group that tallied public spending data.

Spending on the failed attempt last June to recall Governor Scott Walker totaled .9 million, with the polarizing Republican and his supporters spending the bulk of it, .7 million. That shattered the previous record spent on a statewide office race. In 2010, when Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, total spending topped million.

Barrett, Walker’s main challenger in 2012 as well, and his supporters spent about million on this year’s special election. Walker, whose efforts to scale back collective bargaining for public employees sparked national discord, won the election by a wide margin.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Tom Evenson, Walker’s campaign spokesperson, characterized the campaign as a “ground up grassroots movement,” fueled by a vast collection of small donations.

But data show Walker was buoyed by big spenders, too. That included more than .4 million from the Republican Governors’ Association, million from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, an estimated .7 million from Americans for Prosperity and more than ,000 from the National Rifle Association.

Walker, whose campaign spent .1 million of its own money, collected 37 donations from individuals who gave between ,000 and ,000, amounting to .74 million. Twenty-six of those donations came from outside Wisconsin, according to the report.

Barrett’s campaign spent .6 million, while outside groups spent millions more in support. Pro-Barrett spending included more than .3 million from Greater Wisconsin Political Independent Expenditure Fund, almost .5 million from Wisconsin for Falk, .1 million from the We Are Wisconsin Political Fund and about million each from two other groups.

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