Two weeks before the July 21 deadline for filing campaign finance reports, the campaigns of Mary Burke, the likely Democratic candidate for governor, and Scott Walker, the Republican incumbent, issued press releases projecting some key numbers.
These figures were nearly the same as those in the actual reports, filed on the due date with the state Government Accountability Board.
They show that Burke’s campaign raised $3.6 million in the first half of 2014, bringing the total since her campaign launch in early October to $5.4 million. She reported having $2.6 million cash on hand.
Walker’s campaign, meanwhile, raised $8.3 million during this same six-month period, leaving him with $7.6 million cash on hand.
Beyond these totals, the filings contain other useful and enlightening information.
A data analysis reveals that Walker has raised nearly $4.6 million so far in 2014, or 55 percent of his total, from people who live in other states. That compares to Burke’s out-of-state total of $1.2 million, or 34 percent of her receipts this year.
Since Burke declared her candidacy last fall, she’s gotten $1.5 million from out-of-state, or 27 percent of her total. Walker, during this same time frame, raised $6.4 million from people in other states, or 54 percent of his total.
Walker’s out-of-state support during this period was led by California, Illinois, Texas and Florida, each accounting for about 6 percent of his total. Burke’s top non-state backing came from California (4.7 percent), the District of Columbia (3.7 percent) and New York (3.1 percent).
Burke has ripped this part of Walker’s support, warning darkly of the election being “bought by out-of-state interests.” Walker, meanwhile, has accused Burke of hypocrisy for taking out-of-state donations while saying she would like them banned. Burke’s campaign has said it will adhere to current rules.
The reports also track how much of the candidates’ support comes from big-money donors. Of the $11.9 million that Walker has raised since Burke entered the race, $6.1 million has come from individual contributions of $1,000 or more. Burke has gotten $1.9 million in such donations.
Since the race began, Walker has received 171 individual contributions of $10,000, the maximum. Burke has 56 of these. Additional donors have given the maximum through multiple donations; for instance, former Gov. Jim Doyle and wife Jessica each gave Burke two $5,000 donations.
Burke, a millionaire former Trek Bicycle executive, has given $430,000 to her own campaign. Nearly all of this self-help occurred last year.
Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki said she had no need to further tap her personal resources at this juncture “due to the overwhelming support” she’s received.
Joe Fadness, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, applied a different spin: “Either Burke doesn’t have the personal resources she promised to utilize or she isn’t willing to make an investment in her losing venture.”
Walker has not made any self-contributions to his campaign.
State Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, Burke’s challenger in the Aug. 12 primary, reported raising $2,488, almost all from himself.
Burke, in an interview with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism this spring, said she knew she would be outspent but believed she could remain competitive, by spending wisely.
“I will be very targeted in terms of getting my message out, making sure I reach the voters who haven’t made up their minds,” she said.
The latest Marquette Law School poll, released July 23, found that Burke and Walker were in a “dead heat,” with Walker having 46 percent support among registered voters to Burke’s 45 percent. Among likely voters, Burke polled 47 percent to Walker’s 46 percent.
All results were within the poll’s margin of error.
Just 8 percent of respondents said they were undecided. Many millions will be spent courting this relatively small group.
Bill Lueders is the Money and Politics Project director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. The Center produces the project in partnership with MapLight.