It is now the home stretch of the Wisconsin state Senate recalls, with six elections this Tuesday targeting incumbent Republicans — which could potentially flip control of the chamber to the Democrats — to be followed by two more elections targeting Democrats the week after. And the usually obscure world of state legislative races has seen a lot of money flooding into the state.
As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, the labor-backed group We Are Wisconsin announced that it raised a total of $9.7 million for the recalls. The numbers are not as clear on the other side, but the paper reports that conservative groups are estimated to have actually spent slightly more than the liberals on the elections, though not by a huge margin.
For example, the Capital Times reports that the Club For Growth’s Wisconsin division has spent an estimated $3 million to $4 million on issue ads in the races — compared to just $1 million they had previously spent in the state in the last four years.In addition, a Citizens United affiliate called The Presidential Coalition, is spending $300,000 in the state.
Also, donations have come in through the liberal clearinghouse site Act Blue. According to statistics supplied to TPM, total donations sent just through this source to non-federal candidates and committees in Wisconsin totaled over $575,000 each in both June and July — with almost $250,000 so far in August, in just the last few days. (A breakdown was not immediately available as to how much came from Wisconsin, compared to out of state.)
Furthermore, another shoe dropped in the home stretch of the campaign, when a federal appeals court on Monday blocked the state’s $10,000 annual contribution limit to super-PACs, ruling that the state could not enforce the limit while a lawsuit from Wisconsin Right to Life was pending. However, it is unclear whether the groups will be able to take advantage of the potential windfall of contributions within the remaining time before the election.
Meanwhile, the candidates themselves have continued to take in money. WisPolitics reported that in all, the six Republican incumbents raised over $660,000 in July, with their six Democratic challengers close behind at over $570,000.
And in a push to defend the Republican majority, Tea Party Nation and Tea Party Express have announced that they will launch a four day “Restoring Common Sense” tour around the state on Friday. However, it must be noted that there have been many previous, much-hyped pro-Scott Walker gatherings over the past several months, and they have all fizzled or paled in comparison to the size and impact of the anti-Walker protests (notable pro-Walker evebts featured the likes of Andrew Breitbart and Joe The Plumber, and even Sarah Palin).