$5.4 Million Spent on Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

It is an amazing amount of money to be spent on a mere state supreme court race but this one was for all the marbles in Wisconsin as far as both sides were concerned, so I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign broke out its calculator and came up with a whopping amount of $5.4 million having been spent on the race by forces outside the candidate’s themselves.

“The special interest groups,” WDC says, “spent an estimated $2.7 million to support Prosser and $1.8 million to back Kloppenburg.” Even though two other high court elections outspent the 2011 effort, it is still a major amount of money to go into a state-wide election, to be sure.

I have to say, these final numbers shock me in one respect. I am shocked that unions didn’t put more into this race than they did. The unions sure spent a ton of cash in other areas in the Badger State (like the protests at the state capitol) so maybe they didn’t have the spare cash to throw at Kloppenburg’s race when push came to shove. Whatever the case, I was surprised it wasn’t more.

It’s also interesting that the cash spent on Prosser’s behalf was spent by activists, advocacy groups, and business interests inside the state. The way the left was screaming about Prosser’s support in this race one would have thought that the judge was getting billions from forces outside the state. Remember the screams from the left that the Koch brothers were underwriting Prosser’s race? Turns out not so much.

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It turns out that while Prosser and Kloppenburg both received support from outside the state, forces inside the state spent more than those outside.

The biggest single outlay was made by the left-wing “smear group” Greater Wisconsin Committee.

Leading the smear groups was the Greater Wisconsin Committee which spent nearly $1.7 million to support Kloppenburg. The Madison-based group has been a leading spender on outside electioneering activities in most partisan races for statewide office and the legislature and in nonpartisan state Supreme Court races since it was created in 2004 to support Democratic candidates.

Greater Wisconsin sponsored web ads, phone banks and four television ads to support Kloppenburg. One of the group’s worst ads condemned Prosser for not prosecuting a Catholic priest in Green Bay accused of sexually abusing two boys when Prosser was Outagamie County district attorney in the late 1970s.

Some of Greater Wisconsin’s other ads tied Prosser to the policies of newly elected GOP Governor Scott Walker who has been criticized for his efforts to abolish most public employee collective bargaining rights, provide tax cuts and regulatory breaks for corporations and other wealthy special interests and slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid to public schools and medical assistance programs.

The two candidates themselves spent relatively the same amount on their own races. WDC found that Prosser spent $406,283 and Kloppenburg $351,259. Neither side was out spent in any meaningful way.

Check out the WDC report for more details.

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