Take the Money and Run

Fund Raising Up 55%, War Chests Up 60% Over 98; Incumbents Hold 14-1 Fund Raising Advantage

July 27, 2000

Madison - Legislative candidates kicked off the first six months of the 2000 election year by raking in campaign contributions at a furious, record pace. A Wisconsin Democracy Campaign analysis shows that legislative campaign coffers held a total of $3.6 million as of June 30, which is 60 percent higher than at the same time in the 1998 election year.

Fund raising during the first six months of this year totaled $2 million, which is 55 percent higher than during the first half of the 1998 election year.

Incumbents seeking reelection, who already benefit from name recognition and a legislative track record, have a 14-1 cash advantage over challengers with little more than three months to go before the November election. Legislative incumbents had campaign account balances that totaled $3.2 million as of June 30, compared to challengers whose total cash on hand was $222,523. In the Assembly, incumbents held a 19-1 cash-on-hand advantage over challengers. In the Senate, the incumbent advantage was 9-1.

Table 1
Cash On Hand

State Assembly Candidates State Senate Candidates
Incumbents $2,105,028 Incumbents $1,058,512
Challengers $108,050 Challengers $114,474
Open Seat Candidates $110,739 Open Seat Candidates $58,704

"With challengers facing the prospect of being outspent 14-1, it’s no wonder over 40 percent of legislative races are uncontested. And no wonder incumbents almost always win even when they face opposition," WDC executive director Mike McCabe said, noting that the incumbent reelection rate in Wisconsin hovered between 96 percent and 98 percent through the 1990s. "Voters are being robbed of competitive races and real choices."

Incumbents, nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, dominate the roster of those with the largest campaign funds. Republican Speaker Scott Jensen of Brookfield -- a likely candidate for governor who has been raising money across the state -- has the largest war chest among Assembly candidates. Democratic Senator Alice Clausing of Menomonie, who receives much of her money from outside of her northwestern Wisconsin district, had the largest campaign fund balance among Senate candidates.

Table 2
Largest Campaign War Chests

State Assembly Candidates State Senate Candidates
Speaker Scott Jensen (R) $234,168 Alice Clausing (D) $154,664
Spencer Black (D) $118,282 Alberta Darling (R) $149,281
Sheldon Wasserman (D) $73,386 Kevin Shibilski (D) $95,292
Minority Leader Shirley Krug (D) $71,176 Gary Drzewiecki (R) $93,583 
Bonnie Ladwig (R) $54,275 Majority Leader Chuck Chvala (D) $92,590

In the fund-raising arena, incumbents raised $6 for every $1 raised by challengers -- $1.5 million versus $250,342 -- during the first six months of 2000. Like the list of top legislative war chests, the bulk of top fund raisers was fairly evenly split between Republican and Democratic candidates.

The figures also indicate that the contest for Clausing’s 10th Senate District seat is likely to be an expensive one. Not only does Clausing possess the richest campaign fund, as of June 30, but the figures below show that the top fund raiser in the Senate is her challenger, Republican Sheila Harsdorf.

As in previous elections, most large special interest campaign contributions are going to incumbents who use their huge cash advantage to scare off challengers so that their party can retain or gain control of the Legislature. An analysis of legislative candidates who raised the most money during the first half of 2000 bears that out.

Table 3
Top Legislative Fund Raisers
January - June 2000

State Assembly Candidates State Senate Candidates
Speaker Scott Jensen (R) $161,446 Sheila Harsdorf (R) (Challenger) $56,438
Antonio Riley (D) $38,825 Gary George (D) $54,986
Minority Leader Shirley Krug (D) $36,327 Gary Drzewiecki (R) $53,071
Joseph Leibham (R) $27,767 Alice Clausing (D) $50,220
Eugene Hahn (R) $26,272 Mark Meyer (D) (Open Seat) $49,585

"The runaway fund raising and the huge incumbent advantage are perfect illustrations of why we need campaign finance reform so badly," said McCabe, whose organization joined with 19 other public interest groups on Tuesday to unveil a new campaign finance reform proposal called "Voters First" that would limit fund raising, curb special interest money and level the playing field between incumbents and challengers.

Reports from five candidates, including two incumbents, were not filed with the state Elections Board as of noon on July 26. The reports were due postmarked by July 20. Candidates who fail to file on time face a fine of up to $50 a day under state law. Those incumbents with missing reports are Republican Reps. David Ward of Fort Atkinson and Carol Owens of Oshkosh. The others who are challengers or candidates for open seats are Republicans Roy Hegard of Hortonville, Todd Huebler of Wisconsin Rapids and Mary Kay Poehlman of Waupaca.

Follow the links below for totals raised and ending cash balances for all legislative candidates:

All Senate CandidatesAll Assembly Candidates

Senate Candidates Total Raised and Cash on Hand July 2000

Candidate District Party Status Total Raised
1/1/00 - 6/30/00
Cash on Hand
6/30/00
Cowles, Robert S02 R I $10,655.50 $15,443.27
Moore, Gwendolynne S04 D I $13,642.00 $26,640.45
George, Gary S06 D I $54,986.00 $46,820.92
Darling, Alberta S08 R I $44,688.51 $149,281.16
Johann, Sara Lee S08 D C $1,018.50 $116.09
Clausing, Alice S10 D I $50,220.19 $154,664.26
Harsdorf, Sheila S10 R C $56,437.28 $47,063.63
Breske, Roger S12 D I $29,805.00 $68,717.89
Goldsmith, Dick S14 D C $4,002.08 $1,412.36
Welch, Robert S14 R I $43,722.00 $67,481.40
Christensen, Barbara J S14 R C $1,000.00 $507.16
Chvala, Chuck S16 D I $37,141.68 $92,589.89
Nelson, Lisa B. S16 R C $12,240.00 $11,572.00
Roessler, Carol S18 R I $6,941.86 $50,009.94
McGee, Kevin S18 D C $0.00 $0.00
Panzer, Mary S20 R I $42,278.91 $21,439.61
Duecker, Dave S22 R C $5,525.00 $4,857.60
Wirch, Robert S22 D I $34,733.00 $78,645.98
Shibilski, Kevin S24 D I $39,253.20 $95,291.76
Risser, Fred S26 D I $20,553.06 $41,178.89
Carstensen, Carol J. S26 D C $10,582.80 $20,635.41
Lazich, Mary S28 R I $30,031.00 $56,723.86
Hansen, Dave S30 D C $31,211.00 $28,309.25
Drzewiecki, Gary S30 R I $53,071.18 $93,582.59
Meyer, Mark S32 D O $49,584.55 $56,504.19
Babb, Raymond C. S32 R O $0.00 $0.00
Johnsrud, Mark S32 R O $650.00 $417.90
Kapanke, Dan S32 R O $2,233.83 $160.00
Olson, Ryan S32 R O $2,656.80 $306.47
Sarnowski, John S32 R O $3,880.09 $1,315.67
Totals $692,745.02 $1,231,689.60

Assembly Candidates Total Raised and Cash on Hand July 2000

Candidate District Party Status Total Raised
1/1/00 - 6/30/00
Cash on Hand
6/30/00
Swoboda, Lary A01 D O $4,955.00 $4,015.49
Bies, Gary D. A01 R O $5,134.53 $3,569.16
Andre, Peter A01 R O $8,031.34 $1,689.03
Lasee, Frank A02 R I $10,597.00 $12,968.66
Ott, Alvin A03 R I $4,950.00 $15,808.08
Montgomery, Phil A04 R I $6,604.49 $20,429.47
Collins, Pat A04 D C $50.00 $50.00
Meyerhofer, Lee A05 D I $14,922.00 $27,454.55
Sanders, Thomas J. A05 R C $2,650.00 $2,556.45
Ainsworth, John A06 R I $5,441.48 $12,400.29
Adamczyk, Steve A07 R C $100.00 $100.00
Bock, Peter A07 D I $2,325.00 $8,075.76
Colon, Pedro A08 D I $10,108.39 $8,753.71
Mannisto, Richard T. A09 R C $450.00 $182.17
Carpenter, Tim A09 D I $4,580.00 $4,358.91
Williams, Annette Polly A10 D I $200.00 $2,135.21
Morris-Tatum, Johnnie A11 D I $2,870.00 $4,229.91
Krug, Shirley A12 D I $36,326.90 $71,175.67
Cullen, David A13 D I $4,304.56 $16,584.45
Walker, Scott A14 R I $11,640.57 $51,445.60
Pritzl, Robert A15 L C $0.00 $0.00
Staskunas, Tony A15 D I $6,215.00 $9,403.92
Young, Leon A16 D I $1,945.00 $4,391.94
Coggs, Spencer A17 D I $600.00 $1,926.81
Riley, Antonio A18 D I $38,825.00 $38,381.07
Richards, Jon A19 D I $11,148.97 $10,750.69
Sinicki, Christine A20 D I $1,700.00 $878.35
Strnad, Ryan A21 R C $0.00 $0.00
Plale, Jeffrey A21 D I $19,844.52 $15,513.14
Degner, Arden A21 R C $0.00 $6.12
Gerard, Kevin A22 R C $5,135.00 $9,563.58
Wasserman, Sheldon A22 D I $17,570.45 $73,386.05
La Fave, John A23 D I $5,657.01 $22,665.03
Jeskewitz, Suzanne A24 R I $6,680.00 $12,150.77
Ziegelbauer, Bob A25 D I $0.00 $356.42
Leibham, Joseph A26 R I $27,766.75 $33,263.28
Van Akkeren, Terry A26 D C $17,653.21 $8,704.53
Puksich, Michael J. A26 D C $4,269.52 $1,425.00
Heinen, Jim A27 R C $0.00 $368.88
Kestell, Steve A27 R I $13,144.00 $20,206.53
Dueholm, Robert A28 D C $17,505.50 $26,277.30
Pettis, Mark A28 R I $22,805.00 $37,689.35
Butler, Jeff A29 R C $4,842.32 $1,280.29
Plouff, Joe A29 D I $8,544.21 $12,699.89
Rhoades, Kitty A30 R I $22,891.13 $34,046.30
Nass, Stephen L. A31 R I $2,670.42 $44,361.71
VanDierendonck, Chad A32 D C $50.00 $31.50
Jensen, Scott R. A32 R I $161,445.64 $234,167.88
Vrakas, Daniel A33 R I $2,363.76 $20,779.88
Raduege, William E. A34 R O $841.50 $841.50
Weber, Roger L. A34 D O $8,071.00 $6,496.30
Gilman, Charles R. A34 R O $1,061.11 $753.00
Meyer, Dan A34 R O $6,808.78 $9,700.19
Friske, Donald R. A35 R C $4,246.93 $1,521.81
Waukau, Sarah A35 D I $10,193.70 $11,938.65
Seratti, Lorraine A36 R I $7,415.00 $12,149.43
Nass, Steven J. A37 D C $3,480.52 $1,667.79
Foti, Steven A38 R I $21,650.00 $20,796.84
Watson, Leroy A38 L C $0.00 $0.00
Barker, Denise A38 D C $1,512.00 $858.49
Messer, Dave A39 R O $1,036.87 $253.26
Giedd, Jim A39 D O $3,313.00 $2,765.31
Swain, Charles E. A39 R O $1,200.00 $404.15
Rovics, Steve A39 R O $0.00 $0.00
Rasmussen, Michael A39 R O $6,852.00 $4,622.56
Fitzgerald, Jeff A39 R O $8,800.00 $4,646.27
Hundertmark, Jean A40 R I $4,125.00 $29,660.06
Olsen, Luther A41 R I $5,620.00 $12,821.75
Murphy, Jim A42 D C $0.00 $259.51
Spillner, Joan Wade A42 R I $14,083.81 $16,056.99
Kedzie, Neal A43 R I $25,735.00 $27,593.00
Kurtz, Paul A44 R C $625.00 $112.23
Rabas, Cal R. A44 R C $3,052.15 $1,843.94
Wood, Wayne A44 D I $790.00 $1,363.79
Schooff, Dan A45 D I $19,287.00 $23,019.27
Jones, Dave A46 R C $1,125.00 $916.99
Hebl, Tom A46 D I $3,045.00 $9,628.20
Hahn, Eugene A47 R I $26,271.90 $40,792.98
Soucie, Laurent A47 D C $12,870.00 $14,512.44
Miller, Mark A48 D I $2,005.00 $2,643.55
Loeffelholz, Gabe A49 R O $500.00 $1,000.00
Carl, Marlin A49 R O $90.00 $283.05
Fager, Brian K. A49 R O $0.00 $0.00
Brechler, Troy A49 R O $718.91 $333.71
Starr, Robert J. A49 R O $460.89 $37.05
Rundell, Bob A49 D O $511.58 $84.35
Siss, Arlene A49 D O $1,964.00 $1,494.40
Hinderman, Gerald H. A49 R O $400.00 $400.00
Albers, Sheryl A50 R I $5,807.24 $37,778.47
Freese, Stephen A51 R I $18,569.50 $34,594.31
White, Rose C. A51 D C $546.00 $31.62
Townsend, John A52 R I $12,428.85 $27,198.18
Rosser, Lewis A52 D C $4,860.00 $3,246.35
Bloechl, Melanie A54 R C $1,550.00 $1,550.00
Underheim, Gregg A54 R I $10,563.75 $24,230.03
Kaufert, Dean A55 R I $4,009.74 $35,377.78
Stevens, Pat A56 R O $8,110.00 $3,162.11
Kopitske, Glenn M. A56 D O $0.00 $0.00
McCormick, Terri A56 R O $10,481.60 $104.39
Wieckert, Steve A57 R I $22,217.00 $14,831.26
Lehman, Michael A58 R I $7,339.00 $9,748.17
Grothman, Glenn A59 R I $7,015.61 $27,075.18
Hoven, Timothy A60 R I $12,915.72 $33,285.42
Turner, Robert A61 D I $600.00 $4,241.67
Lehman, John A62 D I $2,713.25 $10,385.25
Ladwig, Bonnie A63 R I $17,686.28 $54,275.42
Kreuser, James A64 D I $14,990.07 $41,044.70
Steinbrink, John A65 D I $850.00 $11,496.62
Gentz, Virgil A66 D O $5,271.25 $4,440.46
Starzyk, Samantha A66 R O $8,485.00 $5,801.56
Sherman, Patrick L. A66 R O $1,109.86 $1,001.77
Sykora, Tom A67 R I $1,755.00 $12,269.63
Balow, Larry A68 D I $11,750.00 $16,173.74
Ludwigson, Howard A68 R C $6,665.00 $4,002.36
Dawes, Violet A68 R C $0.00 $6.61
Suder, Scott A69 R I $15,833.00 $13,438.83
Morgan, Gary W. A70 D O $1,265.47 $73.50
Vruwink, Amy Sue A70 D O $10,768.18 $8,255.34
Lippert, MaryAnn A70 R O $11,829.52 $15,494.08
Lassa, Julie A71 D I $11,949.65 $15,980.77
Schneider, Marlin A72 D I $5,100.19 $18,076.32
Speich, Michael H. A72 D C $1,828.51 $285.34
Helenius, Darryl A73 R C $255.00 $109.41
Boyle, Frank A73 D I $3,200.16 $9,380.99
Loden, Connie A74 R C $1,100.00 $1,200.00
Sherman, Gary A74 D I $13,993.16 $18,689.78
Hubler, Mary A75 D I $902.42 $14,886.98
Brenholt, Wayne A75 R C $50.00 $35.00
Berceau, Terese A76 D I $575.00 $4,701.00
Nathan, Andy A76 R C $30.00 $30.00
Black, Spencer A77 D I $2,236.66 $118,281.86
Cekosh, Mike A78 R C $0.00 $0.00
Pocan, Mark A78 D I $7,097.66 $2,191.61
Pope-Roberts, Sondy A79 D C $10,292.00 $8,768.16
Skindrud, Rick A79 R I $21,861.27 $51,003.55
Conn, Jeff A80 D C $880.00 $856.00
Ferguson, Alan A. A80 D C $3,330.81 $2,386.27
Bergum, Dick A80 C C $0.00 $8.99
Powers, Mike A80 R I $1,464.80 $13,305.60
Russell, Timothy D. A81 R C $727.65 $419.38
Travis, David A81 D I $2,060.00 $2,916.76
Stone, Jeff A82 R I $9,010.00 $18,990.64
Gunderson, Scott A83 R I $11,273.00 $19,530.53
Gundrum, Mark A84 R I $10,433.38 $31,697.16
Huber, Greg A85 D I $8,229.95 $15,980.32
Lippert, Albert A85 R C $5,030.00 $3,647.99
Cihlar, Sandi A86 D C $10,426.71 $8,207.88
Petrowski, Jerry A86 R I $24,135.70 $48,157.40
Reynolds, Martin A87 D I $100.00 $2,826.52
Dehmlow, Brad A87 R C $100.00 $57.25
Hendzel, Ed A87 R C $40.00 $7.60
Peggs, Steven R. A88 D O $18,421.62 $15,476.20
Krawczyk, Judy A88 R O $0.00 $0.00
Krueger, Jack A88 D O $815.00 $425.47
Gard, John A89 R I $19,360.00 $44,146.95
Ryba, John A90 D I $754.00 $6,813.72
Gronemus, Barbara A91 D I $1,000.00 $3,233.23
Musser, Terry A92 R I $13,730.66 $21,804.82
Kreibich, Robin A93 R I $7,328.21 $43,135.12
Huebsch, Michael A94 R I $22,062.00 $22,556.64
Ehlenfeldt, Jennifer A95 D O $11,926.90 $10,999.54
Suchla, Deb A95 R O $1,839.05 $1,770.00
Skemp, Daniel C. Jr. A95 R O $303.95 $250.00
Kahlow, Christine A. A95 D O $100.00 $96.31
Servais, Jim A96 D C $887.00 $675.00
Johnsrud, DuWayne A96 R I $6,685.51 $13,479.02
Brodaczynski, Mark A97 R C $111.00 $279.60
Krusick, Peggy A97 D I $5,524.98 $20,201.67
Duff, Marc A98 R I $8,400.99 $10,708.62
Urban, Frank A99 R I $14,570.00 $13,601.99
Totals $1,306,796.76 $2,323,817.36