Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has been in full campaign mode for the recall campaign that Democrats have mounted against him — and has raised a lot of money while he’s at it.
The Walker campaign announced on Tuesday that he raised $4.5 million in just the period from December 11 through Jan 17, and has over $2.6 million on hand. In all, he has raised $12 million since January 1, 2011.
“Governor Walker’s message of moving Wisconsin forward continues to resonate with voters,” said communications director Ciara Matthews. “It is this message, and the success of the governor’s reforms, that have inspired people to contribute to his campaign in overwhelming numbers. These donations will allow us to fight back against this baseless recall and ensure Governor Walker can continue to lay the foundation for a more successful Wisconsin and keep government working on the side of taxpayers.”
The press release notes that the donations came from a total of 21,443 contributions, including 16,406 of contributions of $50 or less. But under the surface, it becomes clear that Walker has been taking advantage of a key aspect of the state fundraising law for recalls — that until the election is officially triggered, the targeted incumbent can bring in unlimited donations.
For example, the Wisconsin State Journal reports that Walker raised $1 million in a week from just four people — including a familiar name from the 2004 election cycle:
Walker brought in another $250,000 from billionaire Texas home builder Bob Perry, meaning he has received $500,000 from Perry, who is known for financing the “swift boat” ads targeting 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry.
Walker also received $250,000 from David Humphreys of Tamko Building Products in Joplin, Missouri, and another $250,000 from Sarah Atkins of Tamko.
Stanley Herzog of Herzog Contracting in Missouri gave Walker $250,000.
Democrats have submitted over a million signatures to recall Walker — nearly twice the 540,208 signatures, or 25 percent of the total votes in the previous election for governor, needed to trigger a new election.
However, these signatures are now going through a lengthy review process by state officials, before an election can go forward later in the year. And furthermore, that delay has likely been extended beyond the original expectations, after a judge in conservative Waukesha County ruled that the GAB must make a greater effort to screen out fake or duplicate petition signatures — rather than abide by the pre-existing rules, which had placed the burden mainly on the elected officials targeted for recall.
Democrats have said they will seek to fight any efforts to delay the election, for example by challenging the state election officials to trigger the election once they have counted up to the threshold rather than review all of the million signatures.