Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign reported collecting $13.2 million this year to contest a June 5 recall vote, more than seven times the amount brought in by his two major opponents.
Democrats Kathleen Falk and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett raised a combined $1.8 million in the Jan. 1 through April 23 reporting period, according to their campaigns. Estimated spending on the vote, only the third recall of a U.S. governor, may range from $60 million to $80 million by all the candidates and supporters. Walker, a Republican, has collected more than $25 million since January 2011, according to his campaign.
The recall has drawn national attention from the Republican and Democratic parties as well as unions and their opponents in what has become a warm-up for the presidential campaign.
“We continue to see strong grassroots support for Governor Walker,” Ciara Matthews, a spokeswoman, said yesterday in a statement from the campaign in Madison, the state capital.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is scheduled to stump for Walker, 44, in suburban Milwaukee today.
Walker’s filing drew a quick response from Falk, a former Dane County executive who is running in the May 8 primary for the right to challenge the governor in June. The county encompasses Madison.
“While Wisconsin loses more jobs than any other state, Governor Walker has spent his time trying to save his own job,” Falk, 60, said in a statement. She has collected $977,059, according to her campaign.
The nonpartisan Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has said the recall fight may cost more than twice the $37.4 million that Walker and his Democratic opponent, Barrett, together spent on the 2010 election. Barrett, 58, reported receiving $830,000, including $750,000 since March 30, when he entered the primary.
Wisconsin has been in turmoil since February 2011, when protests erupted after Walker and the Republican-dominated Legislature imposed collective-bargaining restrictions on most public employees. Labor officials accused the state of union- busting, while Republicans said the limits would help local governments stay solvent.
In addition to Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, the state’s Government Accountability Board authorized recall elections against four Republican senators -- Scott Fitzgerald, Pam Galloway, Van H. Wanggaard and Terry Moulton, to be held June 5. Galloway subsequently resigned.
Two Republicans who supported Walker’s changes were recalled in August.
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